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Karni-Bain (BAI), Carl, (John John)



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"John John" by Carl Karni-Bain (BAI)

8.5 x 11 inches acrylic and oil stick on poster board --unframed 2014

Carl Karni-Bain aka BAI was born in Virginia in 1959.  He attended California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA., majoring in classical drawing and painting.

Over the last three decades BAI’s work has dealt with the human form.  He has consistently used the African Mask as the foundation of his portraits.  The mask, much like the human face, takes the artist as well as the viewer on a never-ending journey of twist and turns, ups and downs.  He uses color to capture the emotional state of his subject:  The reds and dark oranges generally symbolize the turmoil and suffering the subject has endured; blues and greens represent the calm and peacefulness, and the bright yellow indicate a bright future ahead.  Like life, his portraits are not always predictable, however.

BAI has exhibited throughout the United States and Internationally.  His work forms part of the permanent collection of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Harrison Museum of African America Culture.  His works can be found in private and domestic collections as well as internationally in Australia, Spain, England, Italy, China, France, Canada, Sweden, Holland, Ireland, and Germany.  He has exhibited extensively in, the San Francisco Bay area, North Carolina, New York, China, and Europe.

“I have been painting faces and figures throughout my career as they are part of an ongoing journey of which neither I nor the viewer will ever tire. The foundation for my portraits comes from the African Mask. As a child, I remember the visual impact it had on me and remains strong in my retainable memory to this day. The mask forces a response from the viewer, whether a primitive or contemporary response. Colour is the symbol I use to reflect the emotional stages through which we as humans experience - reds for the violent past, blues, greens for the peace to come, and yellow and oranges for the bright future ahead. The latter is not guaranteed in my paintings. However, I think it is attainable in life.”…..BAI