If you enjoy works of intricate simplicity and conceptual subtlety, then you’ll like Rebecca Carter’s Sleep Architecture and the Dream House at RE Gallery + Studio, Dallas. It’s the sort of work that first appears fragile and airy, yet the work conveys more by way of its obsessive and delicate structure than you might first notice. Upon reflection, formal fragility becomes the ethereal content of conversations past, places lived, and phenomena alternatively remembered or read.
Carter’s thread-wrought texts and constructions are in the gallery’s front room, and a wonderful series entitled Places We Used to Live, in the back. Carter’s thread texts impress and titillate with their blend of careful crafting and sly wit. They can be immediately funny or cryptic and clever, and sometimes both. These delicate compositions seem to hang in the air, just off the wall, as manifold strands of thread extend and fall away from the words themselves, as if they were flowering outgrowths or roots hunting the air for soil. Of these, Technical Support, is the most amusing: its cursive script reads, “darling – you Googled my dream.” Think of your parents, or perhaps yourself, and how many different things this phrase might refer to…
Night City and Blank Book, two works without text, are also worth noting. Night City is a cool and neutral-colored net gently and fascinatingly unraveling itself upon the wall. Carter collected a forty-day sampling of her own sleep architecture with an iPhone app, then took the graphs it generated and overlaid them into a composition that catches the anatomy of her dreaming life.
Blank Book is a re-imagining of a spiral notebook and its shadow, like an uncertain and fragile vertebral column. Like all Carter’s best work, it has a deceptive simplicity about it that belies her curious investigations and multi-layered process.
In the back of the gallery we find Places We Used to Live—a poetic visual narrative of the various sites Carter has called home throughout her life. Carter gathered images of the places she once lived old family photo albums and Google Earth, or just from memory, weaving lively gestures of these images into various digitally-gradated color fields chosen from intuition or from references to the place itself. The fields’ minimalism beautifully compliments the graceful and whimsical thread drawings, situating them within the sublime and far off impossibility of that nostalgia and memory. Houses and buildings glide upon color-field nothings, attempting to slip free of recollection. Lines of thread often fall gently below the structures like limbs and feelers, adding to the sense that the image is adrift in dreams.
Dwelling at the intersection of intricacy and subtlety, Carter’s rich and idiosyncratic processes, practices, and interests, taken with her particular and exquisite aesthetic sensibilities, offer you a genuine surprise every time out.
Hurry! Sleep Architecture and the Dream House will be on view at RE Gallry + Studio through April 20.
Andy Amato is a Dallas-based artist, writer and teacher.