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REBECCA CARTER
at Holly Johnson Gallery through december 23
by Todd Camplin

When visiting all the galleries a few weekends back, I came across Rebecca Carter installing
her work just before the opening that night. A few strings were still being pulled and other
strings were out of place, but Carter is used to this, you see, her work is made of thread. Call
it a dynamic material, but is seems some of the best fiber artists mix it up with installation
and individual sculptural pieces with emphasis on conceptual practices and content.
Although fibers are not her exclusive materials, this show highlights some of her further
developments in her thread work.
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Carter’s threads capture your attention with color and words, the mess of lines hanging in almost
random directions with only gravity as a common denominator is why you keep looking.
Something about all those lines of thread balling up to form letters which are very readable
and quite entertaining to engage. Carter’s text jumps right out and demands you to read it.
Much of the works’ words reflect a visual or auditory experience. The piece that proclaims the
word Plop is almost audible in my head. I was reminded of a piece the Fort Worth Modern has
of Ed Ruscha which is a painting using words that imply noise. His painting, Noise, Pencil, Broken
Pencil, Cheap Western depicts a pencil breaking among other things. The sound seems to
come through both Ruscha’s paintings and Carter’s fiber pieces.
I can not leave out the important inclusion of installation pieces to the show. So far I have been
focusing on the sculptural pieces that hug on the walls of the gallery like relief sculpture. But
Carter also had two installation pieces that moved out and began invading the rest of the
room. This was not a full blown installation that filled the gallery space, but mini installs that
still had a good presence in the gallery. These works were buildings, made of thread, with
lines attached to a wall, ceiling, and draping on the floor. I got the feeling these structures
were floating. I was so taken by Carter’s hanging houses that I came back for the opening
to see how she had finished putting the work up. The sags and snags were fixed. The house
did indeed have whiskers as the title of the show had indicated.

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Color is another powerful tool Carter uses in this show. I talked to her while she was taking a
break from installing. We discussed the extremely bright colors she was using and how the
extreme brightness of her colored threads are often associated with neon colors are an
illusion. These colors go beyond our spectrum of vision, yet our eyes interpret the colors as
visibly intense colors. Language is also an illusion of factual meaning. Words are an
estimation of agreed upon meanings. Even though a word might mean something as
defined in a dictionary, the way people might express these same words is much more
fluid and less based on pure definition.

Rebecca Carter’s exhibition titled A Thread House Has Whiskers runs through December 23 at
Holly Johnson Gallery. My art showing at the same gallery as another artist that deals with
text is a real treat. Carter makes some pretty fun and playful letters out of thread along with
some interesting objects.