Nathan Carter is known for playing with semi-fictional worlds—locations with brightly coloured covert listening stations, data collection conduits or traveling circuses. His work engages with the history of abstraction, both in painting and sculpture, often taking the form of abstracted maps and landscapes, but fusing an abstract visual language with references to topical contemporary issues. His drawings of fictional surveillance and data collection scenarios, for example, transformed their natural settings into somewhat garish dystopian industrial developments. Drawings of towering antennae and hastily built industrial expansion alluded to the way these structures intrude and invade mountains, valleys, and coastlines but also more or less obliquely addressed environmental concerns revolving around nuclear power plants, resource extraction controversies, and the rapid growth of mobile communications infrastructure.Read More
Carter's more recent work originates from a narrative involving the formation and subsequent career of an all-female band, the DRAMASTICS, including costumes, sets and locations of their concerts. Another series of works draws on the artist's fictional dialogue with several real-life women. The works are actual or imaginary gifts, inspired by his relationship to these figures. The sources of inspiration are both real and elusive, literal and metaphorical, continuing the artist's engagement with the worlds of abstraction and fiction.
Nathan Carter's inspirations have always been eclectic and wide-ranging. His art develops from this voracious intake of information, images, music, popular culture & mass media but also from a culture of exchange of ideas, an excess of words, accumulation of shapes, colours, crossing boundaries of media, overdetermined and wide-ranging associations, mining the exuberance of the visual world and of all-social interaction.
In the last years, the dialogue with a group of women has highlighted this aspect of his creative process. His approach combines the classical notions of inspirational figures, 19th century ideals of community, 20th century anarchist ideas that found their expression in the work of the Situationists and the Punk movement, as well as 21st century preoccupation with sharing images and information across platforms. His work can take the shape of anything from music, film, video, sculpture, photography, party dresses, a finger nail polish bar, jewelry, poetry, masks, costumes, performance, punk rock to dinners, dancers and danger.
The generous stance of Nathan Carter's works and his exhibitions as fun-fueled events, encapsulates the exuberance associated with youth culture, yet at the centre of his production is the excessive force of culture in general, the expenditure of creative energy as gift–generosity as anarchist gesture.
Text courtesy Esther Schipper.