Jamison Carter: Hallelujah Anyway

Jamison Carter
Jamison Carter SUNSPOT 2017 Wood, wood stain, wood glue, steel and hardware 74 by 74 by 63 inches

LOS ANGELES— Los Angeles-based artist Jamison Carter’s third solo exhibition Hallelujah Anyway will be on view from May 19th through June 20th, 2018 at Klowden Mann. The exhibition will feature large-scale freestanding sculptural work formed from unfinished wood and cast resin, sculptural wall work made of hydrocal, concrete board, plywood and paint, as well as a series of colored pencil drawings on black paper.  Across mediums, Carter continues his investigation into material and conceptual tension as seen in the relationship between systematized construct and gestural process.

The central part of the exhibition revolves around three freestanding sculptural works, SUNSPOTNAVELGAZER, and O.o.O.  In the two largest works, hundreds of pieces of wood have been cut down and attached, creating a repeated linear system—one that is clearly imperfect and handmade, while evoking a feeling of the mathematical.  Roughly sawn wood has been left raw with clear varnish, or partially stained black; the color that has long been a significant partner to the wood in Carter’s sculptural vocabulary is notably absent in these works.

Without the fluorescent pigments with which Carter has colored his work in the past, we are left with a more directly physical experience of materials.  The radiating linear shards of wood mimic the notion of Baroque light, and yet they effect weight rather than transcendence.  In NAVELGAZER and O.o.O they are paired with attenuated black resin forms that seem to function as an argument against gravity, while continually bringing the viewer back to the reality of the material with which they were made.  Slightly concave with reaching filaments in one sculpture, and forming a tubular portal in the other, these black spaces imply scientific phenomena and touch on a visual language of physics.  However, while the viewer is allowed to desire the implied magic of astrophysics in these works, Carter provides enough access to the sculpture’s material composition to bring us back down to an understanding of daily detritus; on one side, the resin appears glossed and smooth and somewhat unknowable, while from another vantage point it feels very much like the plastic sheeting from which it was cast.

Carter’s past work has often dealt with narrative movement across abstracted space, highlighting and extending points of tension between formal elements and their conceptual/intellectual/visceral counterparts.  His past exhibitions at Klowden Mann, A Cold War and White Light from Dark Matter, focused on brightly colored and highly structured lines that conveyed action, anamorphic form, and the heightened relationship between spontaneity and control.  In more directly narrative works such as O Superman, a life-size wooden coffin standing on one end and covered entirely with rigid hand-drawn, fluorescent lines of varying widths and hues, Carter expressed the idea that death is the ultimate equalizer.  And while the coffin form that acted centrally in A Cold Waris present in Hallelujah Anyway as well, it is present as actor rather than an object.  Upon closer inspection, the negative space in O.o.O reveals half of the outline of O Superman.  In the coffin’s absent/presence, Carter reminds us that knowledge of our physical endpoint is the future around which we form our present.

The coffin continues to be visible as an actor in Hallelujah Anyway’s series of drawings, if often to subtle effect.  With different shades of colored pencil on black paper, Carter draws repeated lines while placing coffin-shaped cutouts in various sizes and thicknesses under the paper.  This allows the coffin to become visible as an embossed form underneath the lines, and to act as the disruption in Carter’s persistent and almost mechanical movement across the surface.  The color scheme in this series of drawings is more muted than in Carter’s past work, with some drawings functioning along a theme of random choice, and others clearly representing a preselected pattern.  As in SUNSPOT, lines frequently appear to converge to a point of contraction, with the sense that an increased density of light at the point of convergence becomes the entry point to another kind of space.  The interruption caused by the shape beneath the paper’s surface—a jagged spot in the line, a small interval without color, a mis-registration with the straight-edge—brings us back to the surface again, operating like the imperfection in the sculptures’ wooden shards to remind us where we are. In many ways, the content of the drawings becomes this moment that exists on the fault line between systems and perception; a moment where Carter looks at the futility of control in a space that is governed by time.

Jamison Carter (b. 1973, Winston-Salem, North Carolina) received his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2001, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles including Klowden Mann, California State University Northridge, and MorYork Gallery, and he has exhibited in group exhibitions at galleries and public institutions throughout California, at Helzer Gallery in Portland, and in Italy at the Museo Archeologico in Amelia. His work was featured in the exhibition We Must Risk Delight: Twenty Artists from Los Angeles with Bardo LA as part of the 56th Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. He has exhibited at art fairs in Brussels, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Miami. His two-person exhibition at LAX Airport with Bardo LA was the subject of a feature on KCET’s Artbound, and his work has been reviewed in New American PaintingsLA Weekly, Artsy, and elsewhere. Along with private collections internationally, his work is held in the permanent collection of Weatherspoon Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He teaches sculpture, drawing, and three-dimensional design at Los Angeles Valley College.

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