Carter: Bring in the Actual Photo

Review By Colin Berry

Propped on 12 fragile tables along a swath of blue carpet, the sculpted
heads by Carter on display at Four Walls are something of an enigma.
Each is alike--a rough-hewn male form, cast in plastic and painted,
accompanied by a white latte cup and straw. Most sport wigs of
black-and-white hair; some have Band-Aids; others wear glasses. A few
have cryptic details (tiny colorful iMacs, the Virgin of Guadalupe)
depicted on their pates. A handful have their ears pierced with map
pins. What is going on here? Set in the context of the larger
exhibition, which features figures, drawings, assemblages, and a video
by the artist, Carter's heads confound our desire for closure, for
rational explanation. They don't offer us as much as we want from them.
They stare, sit mute.

Carter's work may offer several central tenets. On one hand, the artist
seems to be referencing 20th-century pop art icons, Warhol and
Lichtenstein in particular, whose embrace of mass-produced iconography
was a logical response to a growing consumerist society. In these
artists' as with Carter's works, the blend between individual and
corporate identities is blurred. In addition, Carter seems to be
confronting contemporary ideas about conformity--ideas that each of us
must look, consume, and think in some prescribed, predictable manner.
The devil, however, is in the details, for although each head is alike,
none are identical. All exhibit unique, distinguishing characteristics:
a splash of paint, a sprout of implanted hair, and so on.

Carter's warning about the loss of individuality (the blank latte cups
should read "Starbucks") is witty and sly, and has obvious appeal in our
homogenizing culture. It's never clear whether the icons he chooses to
highlight (the iMac, gay pop stars) forward or stall his ideas about
individualism. Instead, the enigmatic works keep us staring, and
thinking, and coming to new conclusions--drawn, presumably, from our own
heads.--Colin Berry

Four Walls Gallery
3160-A 16th Street
San Francisco
Mar 20-Apr 17 Wed -Fri 3:00pm- 8:00pm Sat 12:00pm- 7:00pm
Call (415) 626-8515.

Taken from CitySearch, on-line review: