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Steve Carr’s Response To Japan

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Steve Carr, Deadwood 2, 2010, found branches, fake flowers, supermarket trays, glue, dimensions vary Steve Carr, Deadwood 1, 2010, found branches, fake flowers, supermarket trays, glue, dimensions vary Steve Carr, Shuttlecocks and Sakura, 2010, carved shina dimensions vary Steve Carr, Hanging Gloves, 2010,  carved, stained shina 290 x 140 x 200 mm each approx. Steve Carr, Aona (looped), 2010, HD transferred to DVD 26 min 04 sec

The nasty floor colour seems to stand for something political. For if you ignore the floor, the branches, shuttlecocks and window sculptures make a nice combination, as do the bird and dog - for they are floating free from The Weight of the Sun - away from the floor - and severed from a zealous nationalism that I suspect (and I am only guessing) is Carr's point.

Auckland

 

Steve Carr
The Weight of the Sun

 

28 August - 2 October 2010

Upstairs at Michael Lett‘s Steve Carr displays works recently made while having a three month residency in Sapporo, Japan. The show seems quite thematically tight with all the components well considered.

Downstairs on the lower walls of the yellow painted staircase that leads up to the exhibtion are three wooden, carved and stained baseball gloves. You might ask yourself..do they symbolise the viewer’s fumble-fingered attempt to extricate meaning from the exhibition or are they a comment on American culture and its profound impact on post-war Japan?

Beyond the steps in the gallery space, a rarefied ‘Japanese’ sensibility dominates. On the two window ledges are seven wood grained, polystyrene supermarket trays holding wooden stalks bearing pink fabric fuchsia flowers and green plastic leaves. On two walls are seven small branches stripped of bark, and holding in their twigs, seven wooden carved shuttlecocks.

The fragile shuttlecocks are a foil to the solid, compact mitts downstairs. While both are webbed, one is airy and floating (though caught in trees) while the other is weighty and earthbound.

Between the windows is a framed photograph of a folded paper napkin, shaped as an angular bird with fanning tail, pressed into a wine glass. In the centre of the room, on a plasma screen, is a video of a woman shampooing a poodle and fluffing up its white fur with a brush. The patient dog is looking to the left as the paper bird also is, and seems connected.

Immateriality and the dominance of air thematically pervade this show: air in the branches and shuttlecocks; within the fur of the laundered poodle; and under the folded paper wings of the serviette bird.

This airy and ethereal effect is badly undermined though by the garish yellow paint on the floor - a reference perhaps to the exhibition’s title featuring the sun as a symbol for Japan. So considering that, the nasty floor colour seems to stand for something political. For if you ignore the floor, the branches, shuttlecocks and window sculptures make a nice combination, as do the bird and dog - for they are floating free from The Weight of the Sun - away from the floor - and severed from a zealous nationalism that I suspect (and I am only guessing) is Carr’s point.

John Hurrell

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