Michael Carter | Reconfigurations

9th April 2022 - 8th May 2022

Private View: Friday 8th April

17:30 – 19:30 All welcome!


Reconfigurations is an exhibition of photographs in which form and colour have been accentuated to the point of abstraction. They were taken in industrial estates, recycling centres, deserted buildings, scrapyards and other overlooked places in the South West, and depict rusted iron, blistered paintwork, broken plaster, faded notice boards, splintered timber and stained stone.

Photographically I was drawn to things that were already transformed or transforming. These were manufactured things that were no longer used and maintained and where time and exposure to weather had taken hold and refashioned them. They were things that were degrading and breaking up, things that had surrendered their original identities and had acquired new forms. Already they were moving towards abstraction.

Imposing both highlight and shadow onto a digital photograph penetrates the surface and makes conspicuous features only faintly seen, and colours can change and enrich in unanticipated ways. Relationships between forms can also alter radically, and new ones come into view. But everything that occurs is what is actually there, insofar as it is not imported from a foreign source. This is the process which delivers and concludes the abstraction. It expresses the idea of things becoming something other than what they first appear. In bringing the pictures to completion I was absorbed by why and how fragments of the external world can be meaningfully reconfigured to express the internal world.

The photographs in Reconfigurations are either in the diptych or triptych format. Historically this presentation style has always carried a sense of the epic and the momentous because of its association with biblical narrative, and in my own secular way I wanted to make pictures which would speak for internal human states. I wanted to convey particular thoughts and moods and conditions of mind recurrent in life and familiar to most people. I could then arrange them in a series which would resemble some kind of subjective journey.

Pictures containing more than one image seem to enforce and elaborate these complex states of being because they often show the same thing in different ways, as if something of concern is being repeatedly looked at in order to be clarified and maybe solved. They can also represent the puzzle of our own diverse identity because they are works presented as one thing but are distinctly two or more things in the same enclosing frame.


Michael Carter SWAc