White Room: CarterMay 6–June 11, 2005 320 West 13th Street
Carter’s works – typically photographic collages or dense, layered, ink drawings – are a form of deflected (or defective) self-portraiture. Carter’s works on paper are assembled – in a manner akin to a police “Identikit” image, or a “Mr. Potato Head” figure – from pre- drawn fragments that depict bodily parts and facial characteristics (profiles, hair styles, moustaches, beards, noses, ears, mouths, eyes, etc.), and invariably make reference to the artist’s own physiognomy.
As in his photographic collages – in which two images, often Polaroid or passport-style portraits of the artist, are literally juxtaposed one on top of another: with details from one image ‘infecting’ or ‘corrupting’ the other – Carter’s drawing seek to obscure, or confuse, notions of self-identity (and identification). Like Arnulf Rainer’s psychologically charged, modified photographic self-portraits, Carter’s visceral work presents human identity (and sexuality) as kind of mask: a series of options, or variables, that not only reveal our culture’s fascination for body augmentation (e.g. TV’s ‘Nip/Tuck’) but also reveal our profound unease with the body. Carter’s work references a time when these “options” weren’t options, but rather necessities in the construction of the closet, as in Rock Hudson’s 1966 film, “Seconds.” There, plastic surgery transforms Hudson’s character from straight-laced, Manhattanite businessman into an artist living in Malibu, CA. The new Rock is an idealized portrait, cobbled together from disparate, altered parts. It is this type of dissemblance that is referenced in Carter’s collaged drawings and Polaroids.
Carter lives and works in Harlem, New York. His work was recently on view at White Columns’ booth at the 2005 Armory Show, New York. Previous solo exhibitions include: Richard Dadd Gallery, St. Paul, MN (2004); and ‘The Bulletin Board’, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2004). This fall he will have a solo exhibition at HOTEL in London. His work has been included in numerous group shows including: Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco (2004); Midway Contemporary Art, Minnesota (2002); and Derek Eller Gallery, New York (2001). Carter received an MFA from the University of California, Davis, CA in 1997.