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From Library Journal
Straightforward compositions carefully staged to depict iconic moments and views characterize the work of photographer Carter. With this, his most recent series (1996-99), he reaches beyond his usual territory of East Texas to find magical imagery in the everyday life of Italy, France, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, and elsewhere. The photographs at once dreamlike, disturbing, and celebratory use a shallow depth of field to define the point of focus, casting the edges as periphery much as the human eye does. The images include staged photographs of people, mostly children, wearing masks; portraits of animals; and architectural views. The animal portraits are the most primal and unsettling; Carter uses them to tell empathetic stories that cause the viewer to wonder at the similarity of human and beast. The architectural views effectively place the viewer at a human scale, as the structures are often seen only in part and distorted through trees or brush. Carter!s lovely, painterly technique combined with mythical content result in images evocative of the late 19th- and early 20th-century pictorial aesthetic. Recommended for large public art collections.?Debora Miller, Minneapolis, MN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Keith Carter lives in Beaumont, Texas where he holds the Walles Chair of Art at Lamar University. His work is included in many public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His previous publications include From Uncertain to Blue (1988), The Blue Man (1990), Mojo (1992/1995), Heaven of Animals (1995), Bones (1996), and Keith Carter: Twenty-Five Years (1997).
John Wood is the author of several prize-winning books of poetry and photographic criticism, including the recently released Selected Poems 1968-1998. His essays on a wide variety of subjects have appeared in many books and journals. Wood is the editor of 21st: The Journal of Contemporary Photography.
Essay by John Wood.
In his most recent series, Holding Venus, Keith Carter continues to explore what he has referred to as the poetry of the ordinary, that moment of transcendence when the commonplace becomes the extraordinary. Myth and metaphor form the foundation of Carters imagery, which transforms the literal into the symbolic. In this sense, the notion of holding Venus remarks upon the connection between the earthly and the celestial at the same time that it attests to the fundamental human aspiration to realize that which is seemingly unattainable.
While his early work concentrated on evoking a sense of place and spirit in his native East Texas, Carter has more recently turned his distinct perspective outward, photographing in Italy, France, England, and elsewhere. Yet, he approaches his subject matter with humor and celebration and with a probing eye for the human spirit, regardless of time and place. Often, his subjects are merely apparitions, whose forms are slightly obscured by optical distortions. The imagery of Carters enigmatic worldexplores the mythological, the surreal, and the intangible that infuse everyday rituals and moments.
A poet of the ordinary. Los Angeles Times
Keith Carters photographsare united by an uncommonly penetrating sensibility. They are works of endearingly human dimension. New York Times
Keith Carter has taken his camera abroad and found new material for his increasingly mythic vision. Art News