Ellen Caldwell reviews Jamison Carter’s White Light from Dark Matter 11.19.13
Jamison Carter’s solo show at Klowden Mann is explosive, inviting, and bright. Neon bright. White Light from Dark Matter is Carter’s first solo show at Klowden Mann and it features a variety of two- and three-dimensional works that interact and play off one another seamlessly throughout the gallery’s new Culver City location.
At an artist talk and conversation between gallerist Deb Klowden Mann and Carter, Carter explained that a phrase from a song “shards of light” had stuck with him and in this show, he aimed to make that notion tangible. And indeed he did. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor
Jamison Carter | White Light from Dark Matter, installation view1, courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
Jamison Carter | Exchange 2013 Marker and acrylic paint on paper 21.5 by 25.5 inches (framed), courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
Walking into the gallery, viewers are confronted with multi-tonal neon elements in a multiplicity of shapes and forms. Wooden sculptural works wind their way through the open floor space of the gallery, while two-dimensional works on paper are scattered on the walls. Both forms speak to one another, engage with each other, and further some sort of conversation, movement, and exchange between forms in a really special way.
Jamison Carter | Sample 2013 Marker and acrylic paint on paper 45 1/8 by 37 1/8 inches (framed), courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
Carter started with the smaller prints, using ink pens on paper, then he moved on to the wooden sculptures that are colored with the same inks, and then returned to the larger prints on paper. The fact that he uses the same exact inks and paints throughout, coupled with the fact that his process was so interactive between forms and mediums, really informs his show and the way viewers experience it. Often times I leave multi-modal shows that have mixed sculpture with painting, I am left with a slight feeling of disconnect. With Carter’s work though, the intrinsic relationship forged through his interactive and interconnected process comes through the work as if subliminally, uniting the show quite successfully.
My favorites were the pen and paint works on paper where, in his own words, he “investigated what this pen can do.” Quite literally, he explored the various widths and tips of these bright effervescent pens. From afar, I thought that his works were actually carved prints on paper, but in actuality the lines and shapes formed are strictly from straight lines drawn with various widths of pens.
Jamison Carter | The Sound that Fire Makes 2013 Marker on paper 45 1/8 by 37 1/8 inches (framed), courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
One in particular, “The Sound That Fire Makes” really called to me. Bright neon lines are piled upon one another as if in a pyre climbing toward the sky or top of the paper. The overlap of colors and mix of opaqueness and sheerness on tones is really key here. At the bottom of the pyre, is a smaller pile of what looks like black stacks of wood. In this one work, viewers can get a feel for his entire show. The “shards of light” are quite keenly captured and materialized here. The black forms at the bottom are suggestive of all of the matte black paint and plaster he uses throughout his prints and sculptures, as if to offset the brightness from which the light exudes.
Jamison Carter | Pinch 2013 Marker and acrylic paint on paper 45 1/8 by 37 1/8 inches (framed), courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
Something about this particular work, made me recall Erin Payne’s painted piles of fabric in which her multi-layered process of physically making the piles and then capturing them both on film and in paint materializes and archives her entire artistic process. In “The Sound That Fire Makes,” we see Carter’s work in a nutshell. It mimics and recalls the wooden pieces he used to build his radiating sculptures found throughout the gallery. And it simultaneously suggests, both visually through the illusion and verbally through the title’s allusion, a possible burning of these items, indicating and pinpointing the fleetingness of light itself.
Jamison Carter | White Light from Dark Matter, installation view 2, courtesy of Klowden Mann, photo by Lee Thompson.
Jamison Carter’s White Light from Dark Matter runs through December 7th. Carter was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina and received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2001. He teaches sculpture and three-dimensional design at Los Angeles Valley College, and has exhibited in California, New York, Chicago, Belgium, and Italy.
Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.