July 31 - September 19, 2010
Lyn Carter’s art is a sympathetic project of sorts: she revalues the overlooked, unwanted and disposable objects that are a useful yet passive part of our everyday routine by assembling them in new combinations. She embeds common objects in brightly coloured fabric sheaths. They remain identifiable through their outlined shapes, but partially hidden under these new skins. What results is not just a reclaiming of the ordinary, but the construction of something completely unexpected. Melding a contemporary aesthetic with mechanically produced materials, Carter incorporates textiles into her work to bring her sculpture into another dimension, creating something recognizable yet elusive, mundane yet extraordinarily imaginative.
But recognition of the familiar undercurrents which run through Carter’s work is not a matter of simple observation. Her abstract forms are first met with an air of ambiguity, challenging our expectations for textile art. Combining a mastery of sewing and the use of provocative patterns, Carter’s fabric becomes the skin of the objects beneath it. On one hand the objects are transformed, losing all definitions. On the other hand we are compelled to look inside the fabric for a hint of familiarity. Pieces such as Droplet and Swallowing Roses certainly encapsulate this feeling; found objects and the skeleton of an antique stool conjoin with intriguing patterns resulting in re-invention; a new life form containing only a slight echo of what was. This juxtaposition between the familiar and the faint creates a stimulating dialogue between subject and object, inviting both interaction and interpretation.
Each of Carter’s creations is reminiscent of female tradition but with a contemporary twist. The works are constructed out of material sometimes viewed as feminized objects because they have their origins in domestic spaces. But her creations are not domesticated at all. Their presence brings new life to the places that they inhabit; they melt corners, defy gravity, and alter the normal perspective of our daily environment. Carter’s combined use of textile and sculpture is responsible for this impression. The rigor of her sculpture clashes with the softness of fabric to create a welcome contrast between the customary and the contemporary. It is as if the objects take on a life of their own—deciding where and how they want to be; joining with other pieces, adopting new colors and placing themselves in a more appropriate space. Hence, the objects are removed from the space where we normally understand them, and become something new, which thrives in the spaces and gaps between categories.
By dramatizing the ordinariness of simple material objects, Carter shows us how to take the ordinary and mundane things that surround us and engage with them on an entirely different level. Her creations ignite curiosity and compel one to consider the relationships we have with our own stuff. They make a moral statement regarding the significance and meaning of these things in our lives. In Stretched, the commonplace items which remain largely invisible within daily life brighten and then ask for interpretation—perhaps suggesting that we pay more attention to the things that we use and live with—to develop a more imaginative and creative eye.