September 7 – October 18, 2014
Opening reception: Sunday, September 7, 2014
According to Robert Arndt, “Aaron Carpenter’s Cartoons are paintings; narrative abstract action paintings completed as stop-motion films. The paintings showcased suggest a correlation with the 1920′s German movement referred to as Absolute Film. Hans Richter who was associated with this sub-genre of experimental film and produced Rhythmus 21, 23 and 25 amongst others shares a sensibility with Carpenter’s paintings. The Cartoons appear as deadpan establishing shots of short narrative formalist compositions. What is transfixing about Carpenter’s works is the cadence in which these forms transpire and how they deliver a caricature of narration. This cinematic suggestion of narrative is also promoted through the use of title cards introducing each Cartoon. These title cards work in the same manner as was utilized in the silent-film era but here Carpenter uses them as blunt statements that set up the structured emotive sequences.
Satirical overtones emerge within Carpenter’s Cartoons; however, it’s in the acting out of formalist configurations that the absurdist theatricality gives cause for humour. This may suggest our inherent tendency to imbue abstraction and nature with anthropomorphic qualities. The shapes appear to act out as characters unto themselves: in Circle Nudged Incessantly, the lone circle being nudged by other shapes initially suggests a narrative of oppression but ends in one of inclusion. This personification reveals how a reduction in behavioral qualities is all that is required in communicating a symbolic narration – a pantomime in minimalist form.
The stop-motion technique employed in these action paintings present a subtle in-between motion and colour that would not be available if accomplished digitally. The slight shifts in movement complement the forms and extend the characteristics of each of these Cartoons. It’s with this animation of compositions that the real-time narrative abstract action paintings personify and extend the discourse and history of painting.”
Aaron Carpenter was born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1976, which was quite a while ago. After overcoming childhood, he became a juvenile delinquent and learned how to steal cars. It wasn’t hard; he only learned how to steal Honda Preludes because all you needed was a flat head screwdriver, you could crush the steering column and then pretty much just crank the ignition with it and the car would go. He and his friends mostly just went for joyrides. After he was caught by the police several times,his Zionist stepfather sent him to Israel to learn about socialism in action on a Kibbutz commune; instead he learned about monotheism and sex. After overcoming monotheism he went to art school for a while in Vancouver but dropped out in 2002 and became a forklift driver until 2009 when a forklift fell on him and he was mere inches from permanent decapitation. After overcoming the related PTSD he made an artist’s book entitled Exercises in Kinesthetic Drawing & Other Drawing as well as a serious of animations called CARTOONS.
devening projects + editions
3039 West Carroll Street
Chicago, Illinois 60622