Carl Grauer

Series Work

Judy and Dorothy and OZ

We all are searching for love, wisdom, courage and our place in the world. The Wizard of OZ tells us all these desires can be found within us.

The Oz Altarpiece is the first in a series that explores The Wizard of OZ as a beloved American fairytale, its alleged political and social theories, and Judy Garland, its iconic actress and her connection to the gay rights movement.

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Grauer explores the construction of identity and how to capture a likeness and the personality of an individual through the observation and documentarian approach to contemporary portraiture. Grauer has garnered success with showing work internationally, including being shortlisted for the 2015 Wells Art Contemporary Award in the UK, exhibiting with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London, and with the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

If you have interest in commissioning a portrait, please send an inquiry to It is a lovely way to commemorate a special time of your life, which can be enjoyed for a lifetime and to pass along to future generations.

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Two Hour Portraits

An example of Carl's approach to portraiture is a series called “Two Hour Portraits”. In this series, Carl paints subjects in a set amount of time. This practice focuses on mindful strokes laid with purpose and with energy. It is a goal to render form,depth, color and likeness within this set parameter of two hours.  More than a practice in painting, this series is a ritual involving the mutual gaze in a set window of time. It is also an ongoing portrait of a group. A group of the population with whom Carl has interacted; thus, as much as it is a portrait of a group, it is a portrait of him. This project began in 2012 and it continues to excite because of this element of time. It documents the subjects in specific amount of time and also his evolution as a painter.

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Lost & Found

This series began when Grauer took notice of the everyday objects that surrounded him. One by one, he set them down on an old matte board and arrange simple settings to paint from life. It evolved into a daily practice. His still lifes painted on copper suggest an imaginary museum commemorating our everyday bric-à-brac: old jars; perfume bottles; salt and pepper shakers; pliers. Examples of the present becoming the past so quickly, he focuses on the documentation of time, memory and imagination and how through these aspects he may occupy the past, present and the future.

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Recollections, a series that plays with the tension between memories, the "return to home", and the actual experienced past, is an idea Carl explores through the renderings of the family unit.

Nostalgia comes from the Greek word nostos, meaning "to return to home" and algos, meaning "pain". Before the rise of pathological anatomy and bacteriology made it less credible, medically; nostalgia was considered a "disorder of the imaginiation". Through time, nostalgia's meaning became a more generalized reaction to the sad fact that, unlike space, time cannot be returned. Grauer takes source imagery found in flea markets, second hand stores and from his own family's collection, and changes elements to signify specific moments that could be seen as memories, remembered or forgotten.

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Organa Æternum

Organa Æternum is a series born out of the merger between traditional still life painting and medical illustration. Grauer uses a plastic mid-century anatomical model as his chosen subject to arrange and set in scenes. These plastic representations of tissues, organs, systems and the body are used as aesthetic objects. Specific influences are found within the themes of vanitas and Memento mori, which were executed with symbolic objects of brevity to remind viewers of the transience of life.

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Using Format