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Carlos Canul


Representative and Programming Administrator

Carlos Canul is a contemporary abstract oil painter who lives and works in Splendora, Texas. A native of Brownsville, Texas, his art focuses on the merging of figuration and abstraction, while holding together the traditions of a layered exploration of the medium. His personal style draws from a combination of his Mayan heritage and the spiritual dialogue that draws forth within his life, and the natural surroundings he encounters wherever he goes.


Landscapes, Meso-American and world mythologies, spiritual realms, and figuration are all major themes in his paintings and drawings. The use of darkness and light, stark lines and blurred imagery combine to invite the viewer into a world of questions both personal and communal.


Canul attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in Dallas Texas. It is there he began honing his talent for artistic expression; “My drawings lead to a deeper understanding of my painting modalities; thus, they hold the key to expressing my painterly explorations.” This was only furthered by his time spent as an undergraduate art student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Methodist University, and Houston Baptist University where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing.


Canul’s artwork has been shown in solo and various curated and juried exhibitions in the United States and Europe. One of his works was exhibited in The Big Show at Lawndale in Houston, Texas in 2016. He has also served on various selection panel committees for The Office of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Program in Dallas, Texas.


Carlos Canul currently holds a position as professor of visual art at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas where he teaches painting and drawing, and is director and lead curator of the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Museum on the HBU campus, where he exhibits the artwork of local, regional, and international visual artists. Canul also works with his wife Ruby Surls at the family art studio and Splendora Gardens in Splendora, Texas; a, alternative art space focusing on arts education, visual and performing arts, and the environment.


“I am inspired by the growth and artistic depth of my students and colleagues, to keep pursuing my passion for visual expression.”


“Abstraction allows [the artist] to see with [their] mind what [he/she] cannot see physically with [their] eyes…. Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.”  -Arshile Gorky


“I paint for my own astonishment.” -Roberto Echaurren Matta

For more information and images of Carlos Canul’s artwork, please visit:

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