Lisa Cooley is pleased to present Beside Myself an exhibition of new paintings by Carter, the artist’s sixth solo exhibition in New York, and his first with the gallery.
Moving seamlessly between painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, and film, Carter’s work manifests something invisible, an oscillation between absence and presence. The exhibition is aptly titled Beside Myself, a phrase chosen by the artist, because “it’s an intense definition of something ineffable - the idea that someone experiencing such an extreme state of emotion - good or bad - that one is out of one’s body, or has left the body…creating a double." Carter’s paintings look to Cubism’s attempt to depict one person from all angles at once, portraying through painting the multiplicity of a series of moments.
In his new paintings, Carter sews highly decorated fabric into regions of the canvases, expanding on his long-standing interest in portraiture. His use of fabric evokes the body: floating mouths and painstakingly stitched circular eyeholes serve as renditions of faces. The materials themselves speak to the quotidian - clothes, cloths, sheets, and other textiles inherently connected to everyday life, or as Carter describes, “referencing garments, shoddily created…shit couture… or woman’s embroidered samplers created in the 18th and 19th centuries to ‘keep busy’ and to decorate the home… or Liberace’s sexuality expressed in his dress.” His paintings return our stare from behind their eyelets – shrouded yet glancing out, calling to be seen, while curly squiggles, carefully stitched together, mimic hair in a highly stylized, artificial way, suggesting a wig rather than human locks. Carter’s process imparts the feeling that the varying eyes, mouths, and wigs affixed to the paintings could be easily exchanged for others: that identity is nothing if not a composite of representations, fragmentary parts attempting to portray something whole.
Carter considers his cinematic practice to be synonymous with his studio work, unlike other contemporary artists who also create films. Leitmotifs of concealment and fragmentation in his paintings continue through into his new film, Maladies, which he wrote and directed. In a 12-minute scene presented within the exhibition, Catherine Keener plays the role of an artist whose gender and sexuality is questioned in the closeted and oppressive milieu of the mid-1960s. James Franco plays a character who suffers from an unknown malady, which leads him to be overwhelmingly preoccupied with death and unfinished, creative work. Keener and Franco both play artists struggling on some level with the act of creating, and its relationship to the self.
Carter was born in Norwich, Connecticut in 1970 and currently lives and works in New York. He received his MFA from the University of California, Davis and his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. Carter’s works are included in significant collections around the world and have been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Tate Modern, London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Royal Academy, London, the Museion in Bolzano, Italy, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, Hotel Gallery, London, Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, Paule Anglim, San Francisco, and Salon 94, New York. A comprehensive catalogue of Carter's work edited by Georg Kargl was published in 2008 titled An Arm with Hair (The Vienna Catalogue 1973).
Wednesday - Sunday
From 10am to 6pm
- 1, 2. & 3. Installation views: Carter, Beside Myself, 2014
- 4. Carter, Faceted Emote (pink/red), 2013/2014, Acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, threads, sewn fabrics, and paper on canvas, 40 x 30 inches
- 5. Carter, Faceted Emote (figure), 2013/2014, Acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, threads, sewn fabrics, and paper on canvas, 52 x 42 inches
- 6. Carter, Modern Facet (empathetic), 2013/2014, Acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, threads, sewn fabrics, and paper on canvas, 40 x 30 inches