British-born, New York City-based artist Rob Carter makes works that weave together photography, architecture, history and agriculture. His images speak about emigration and the immigrant experience and the manner in which strangers plant roots (and ideologies) in strange lands. In recent years, Carter’s process has involved photographing historically important buildings, creating three-dimensional models from the photos, and then placing these models in living gardens, planted with conceptually relevant seeds that grow through the miniature architectures.
Faith in A Seed, his upcoming exhibition at Art in General in New York, intertwines the languages of science and history into a living sculptural form. Carter’s installation centers on the houses and gardens of three men of the 19th century. Miniature replicas of Charles Darwin’s Down House, Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden, and Sir John Bennet Lawes’ Rothamsted Manor are the centerpieces of a large-scale triangular garden.
The garden consists of dandelions, bush beans, and corn, planted in three distinct sections to represent each man’s methodology. Over the course of the exhibition, each estate will be become dwarfed and eventually overcome by its corresponding garden. Faith in a Seed lives between the gallery and the outside world, exposing the disproportionate relationship between food and shelter while highlighting man’s willingness to intervene in the natural order.
Viewers are invited to witness Carter’s controlled but fragile ecosystem in three distinct ways: time-based video projections, peepholes cut into the sides of the garden, as well as from an elevated viewing platform.
Carter was born in Worcester (yup, where the sauce comes from) in 1976 and now lives in Brooklyn. In 2003, he received his MFA from Hunter College and has exhibited internationally since. His solo exhibitions have included Galeria Fruela, Madrid, Spain; Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome, Italy; Ebersmoore, Chicago, and group exhibitions at the ICA, Philadelphia; Galeria Ramis Barquet, NY; Bruce Silverstein Gallery, NY; and Festival NARRACJE in Gdansk, Poland. Carter has participated in numerous residency programs including Atlantic Center for the Arts (2003), McColl Center for Visual Arts (2007), Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation (2008), Art Omni (2010), and La Alqueria de los Artistas in Valenica, Spain (2010). He is currently in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) workspace studio program.