Sunday, January 10, 2016
ModernDallas.net repost of my article.
When visiting all the galleries a few weekends back, I came across Rebecca Carter installing her work just before the opening that night. A few strings were still being pulled and other strings were out of place, but Carter is use to this, you see, her work is made of thread. Call it a dynamic material, but is seems some of the best fiber artists mix it up with installation and individual sculptural pieces with emphasis on conceptual practices and content. Although fibers are not her exclusive materials, this show highlights some of her further developments in her thread work.
Carter’s threads capture your attention with color and words, the mess of lines hanging in almost random directions with only gravity as a common denominator is why you keep looking. Something about all those lines of thread balling up to form letters which are very readable and quite entertaining to engage. Carter’s text jumps right out and demands you to read it. Much of the works’ words reflect a visual or auditory experience. The piece that proclaims the word Plop is almost audible in my head. I was reminded of a piece the Fort Worth Modern has of Ed Ruscha which is a painting using words that imply noise. His painting, Noise, Pencil, Broken Pencil, Cheap Western depicts a pencil breaking among other things. The sound seems to come through both Ruscha’s paintings and Carter’s fiber pieces.
Color is another powerful tool Carter uses in this show. I talked to her while she was taking a break from installing. We discussed the extremely bright colors she was using and how the extreme brightness of her colored threads are often associated with neon colors are an illusion. These colors go beyond our spectrum of vision, yet our eyes interpret the colors as visibly intense colors. Language is also an illusion of factual meaning. Words are an estimation of agreed upon meanings. Even though a word might mean something as defined in a dictionary, the way people might express these same words is much more fluid and less based on pure definition.
I can not leave out the important inclusion of installation pieces to the show. So far I have been focusing on the sculptural pieces that hug on the walls of the gallery like relief sculpture. But Carter also had two installation pieces that moved out and began invading the rest of the room. This was not a full blown installation that filled the gallery space, but mini installs that still had a good presence in the gallery. These works were buildings, made of thread, with lines attached to a wall, ceiling, and draping on the floor. I got the feeling these structures were floating. I was so taken by Carter’s hanging houses that I came back for the opening to see how she had finished putting the work up. The sags and snags were fixed. The house did indeed have whiskers as the title of the show had indicated.
Rebecca Carter’s exhibition titled A Thread House Has Whiskers runs through December 23 at Holly Johnson Gallery. My art showing at the same gallery as another artist that deals with text is a real treat. Carter makes some pretty fun and playful letters out of thread along with some interesting objects.