Hugo Galerie is pleased to present Minotaur: The golden thread, a solo exhibition featuring Beth Carter and her investigation of minotaur mythology. Legends are replete with fabled paths that wind heroes through harrowing trials from which they emerge victorious and forever transformed. The golden thread does not lead Theseus to the Minotaur, of course, but from him; it ensures the young man’s safe return from the labyrinth after defeating his foe.
Just as Theseus’ golden thread reverses his heroic journey, so Carter’s golden thread subverts our understanding of it. Her work reveals the elemental ambiguities of human nature. Bronze, plaster, and resin sculptures shake our assumptions more often than confirm them. Minotaurs, long a symbol of hyper masculinity, are frequently rendered vulnerable by Carter: some sleep in fetal positions, others slump over while reading small books, and one appears to protectively embrace a group of “innocents” offered as tribute. King Minos, the monarch responsible for caging the Minotaur in his labyrinth, is presented not in regal form but nude and slouching. Carter does not feign a world of black and white—she presents a spectrum of grey. Viewers are forced to consider the myths within us and the dichotomy we embody; no hero is without flaw and no monster unworthy of mercy. It is the sun that casts shadows, after all.
Carter’s existential contemplation is matched by her artistry. She has studied sculptural mythology and methodology in Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Gambia, Kenya, and Tanzania. Her commendable skill is evident in the overwhelming emotion captured in each figure’s expression and the surprising juxtaposition between subject and media—for example, how she crafts seemingly warm and plump human flesh from cold and hard bronze, or a billowing and tissue-like sail from rough and unyielding plaster. The conceptual duality of her work is deftly fabricated in the object itself. And it is mesmerizing.