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University Relations

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Dec. 6, 2005
Contact: Erin Curtis-Dierks, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-9742, or KU Department of Art, (785) 864-4401.

KU installation artist explores power of touch for New York gallery show

LAWRENCE -- Carol Ann Carter, professor of art at the University of Kansas, opened "Touch: The Appetite of Skin," a multimedia installation at the G.R. N'Namdi Gallery in New York City on Dec. 3. The exhibition continues through Jan. 7 and will move to the N'Namdi gallery in Chicago on Jan. 27. In April, the show moves to Detroit.

The exhibition title takes its name from Carter's latest work, a video montage of still and animated images in which the artist uses skin as a metaphor for soul to explore the strength of our sense of touch to affirm caring, a need for connection and a search for personal and cultural redemption.

Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of KU's Spencer Art Museum, says, "Carol Ann's work hovers somewhere between a cinematic collage and a glacier melting in your heart."

A new genre artist, Carter began her professional career in printmaking and drawing and now uses computer technology to create digital drawings and construct video pieces that flow with images, movement, performance, music and narrative.

Technological tools not only allow Carter to incorporate physical materials and objects in her art but also permit her "to combine, juxtapose and annotate in ways I could not achieve solely by hand. I subsequently learned that it was possible to animate my still images, to speak a new language and expand their audience," she says.

" This is work that involves … many voices new to each other -- both human and technological." The process results in inspired connections, Carter adds.

Themes in Carter's work include reclaiming integrity, beauty and grace within elements that are frayed or separated -- often symbolic of hope that has been abandoned, distressed, battered or scarred.

" I stretch across pitted surfaces to join new seams, cross former boundaries, to bind, mend and form new wholes. Nothing is only about itself. … I create scenarios in which dialogues among objects, personal experiences and stored memories can take place. My creative impulse arises from tensions inherent in those dialogues."

Carter's "Touch" incorporates work of composer Kip Haaheim, KU assistant professor of music, who designed the sound; dancer Patrick Suzeau, KU associate professor of dance, who choreographed his performances; and technical advisers and editors Joshua Kendall and Isa Kretschmer, who edited and created visual treatments.

She dedicated her exhibition to the late Al Loving "a fine and gentle artist who touched countless of us deeply and who encouraged my work for over 25 years." He died this year.

Carter has shown her work nationally and internationally in individual and group exhibitions in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, New York City and Luebeck, Germany.

Born in Indianapolis, Carter has a bachelor's degree from the Herron School of Art of Indiana University and a master's from the University of Notre Dame. Her research awards include a National Endowment Individual Artists Award, a Lilly Foundation Open Faculty Fellowship for research in Nigeria, a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral for Minorities Fellowship; a Fulbright Fellowship for research in Stockholm, Sweden; and a Kansas Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. In 1995 she was the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor at KU. Before joining KU's School of Fine Arts faculty in 1996, Carter taught at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind.; Penn State University and the University of Michigan.

More information about G. R. N'Namdi Gallery and the exhibit is available online


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