Cathy Carter | Wai ##31 March – 20 April

Cathy Carter | Wai ##31 March – 20 April


Cathy Carter’s new exhibition: Wai is an exploration of the relationship of individuals to bodies of water. This new body of work opens up alternative and strange vantage points to what we see and experience, drawing our attention to the growing evidence that these liquid ecosystems are under significant threat. Carter’s practice navigates our complex psychological relationship to water, through different perspectives and geographical locations, as well as exploring bodies of water as physical, cultural, and unique environmental ‘landscapes’. Within these landscapes, there is an opportunity to reconnect emotionally with the natural world, as well as make connections with internal worlds.

Carter employs intricate digital collaging techniques, to create works of hyper reality which explore human relationships to bodies of water as unique environmental, physical and cultural landscapes. Shooting, assembling, layering and manipulating photographic images, Carter’s highly constructed works offer immersive experiences, sensuous and psychologically-compelling encounters within spaces of isolation and destabilization.

Repetition of subjects and multiple perspectives play with perceptions of time and space, as well as historical and cultural assumptions about reality and its depiction in the photographic image. These large scale composite works seek to present as a coherent ‘snapshot’ in time, whilst playing with details that on further scrutiny reveal a fictional reality, inviting the viewer to enter a new reality, or to respond to evidence that all may not be what it seems.

As Teresa Teaiwa a scholar of pacific studies has written: ‘We sweat and cry salt water so we know that the ocean is really in our blood’.  Immersing herself in bodies of water, is central to Carter’s art practice.  Although the visual component of her photographs, moving image and sculptures are created in her studio on a computer – Carter’s field work interacting with bodies of water informs the making of her work. The focus on bodies of water, reflects the artists ecological, ethical and social concerns as humanity enters the Anthropocene and grapples with issues such as climate change, and in particular the health of rivers and oceans. There is, in water, a sense of what James Elkins calls in ‘What Is Photography’, “the post-modern sublime,” a “measured chill and reverberating emptiness.” Our relationship to water carries our primal origins as well as cultural, social, and political perspectives.

Carter’s practice creates fictional constructs that explore these liquid spaces and human interaction with them. In so doing she invites the viewer to experience a state of becoming through an encounter with imagined space and time. Within her conceptual practice Carter finds her ideas in our everyday world and environment as well as historical cultural practices and myths whilst referring to specific art historical eras across all mediums according to the visual message she is wanting to communicate through the works or installations.

As Alberto Giacometti observed, ‘The object of art is not to reproduce reality but to create a reality of the same intensity.’

Carter graduated from AUT University with holds a Master of Arts in 2013 and has been a regular finalist in a number of leading art awards including: the Wallace Art Awards, Parkin Drawing Prize, Molly Morpeth Canaday, Sydney HeadOn Portrait Prize and the Walker and Hall Prize. Carter’s work is held in a number of distinguished public, private and corporate collections including  he NZ Parliamentary Art Collection and the TSB Wallace Trust.

More work to be added – contact the gallery for a complete exhibition catalogue.