Robert Powell has long been interested in encyclopaedic and organisational forms, in representations of reality whose straining after universality is constantly subverted as they are enmeshed in a web of cultural and personal memory, of national histories and myths, always with the covering cherub of art history looming above. This interest is exemplified in his ‘A Universal History of Iniquity’, which he has described as ‘a universal history viewed through the prism of Borges’ Aleph relocated to a Stockbridge basement.’
A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Robert Powell has exhibited widely at home as well as throughout Europe, North America and the Far East. In his career thus far he has been the recipient of several awards including the 2008 John Watson Award, the 2011 Benno Schotz Award from the RSA and the 2013 SSA Engramme Printmaking Exchange prize.
Powell has undertaken a number of residencies, including at the Akiyoshidai Art Village and the Yamaguchi Society for Contemporary Art in Japan in 2013, and was the contributing artist to the University of Glasgow symposium and subsequent publication Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment in 2010.He has recently been the painter in residence at Timespan in Helmsdale as part of their Paradigm North program.
Powell’s own publications include Shadow Bestiary (2008) and Macpherson’s Cave: Shadow and Enlightenment and Praise of Folly (both 2011). In his review of a recent show at the RSA, Duncan MacMillan talked about ‘the dark humour of Robert Powell’s brilliant comic print...is a delight.’
Powell has exhibited in the past year in Japan, Canada, Switzerland as well as the UK.