Working in both painting and film, Carver constructs intricate discursive systems that fuse diagrammatic planning, historical artifacts, natural detritus, and appropriated text, all contained within the picture plane to produce skeins of critical inquiry. He builds up his paintings like active membranes that receive pictographic subject matter through indirect techniques, such as digital image transfer, frottage, stenciling, screen printing, and scraping. The worlds that emerge through Carver’s work suggest an uncanny reflection of our own, as though peering through frictional, over-engineered realities that distort rather than cohere. In his paintings, densely textured overlays of different forms of image production seem to oscillate, phase, and emerge at the direction of the eye, generating the sensation of one realm of information becoming visible only by way of another.
In External Fixation, his first solo exhibition at the gallery, Carver extended the allegory of painting as a proxy for the body to the extreme. With the painter qua surgeon, the artist’s gesture becomes akin to either the cut or the suture, and the indirect address of the canvas parallels the contradictions of bodily intervention in modern surgery. As Carver writes, “Painting as a primitive form of cultural technology is abundant with all too-exploited analogies for the body and its viscera. Often, invoking such a metaphor, contemporary painting is described through anthropomorphic terms such as zombie or cadaver. These may be adequate terms for the suspension of the medium, analogically speaking, between autopsy and undead animism.”
Alex Carver (b. 1984, Boise, Idaho) lives and works in New York and Boise. He earned an MFA from Columbia University, and a BFA from the Cooper Union. In 2021, Carver’s work was featured in Potent Stem, his second solo exhibition at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, as well as Our Other Us, the 4th Art Encounters Biennial in Timisoara, Romania, curated by Mihnea Mircan and Kasia Redzisz. He had his first solo show, External Fixation, at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, in 2019. In 2018, he participated in the collaborative two-part painting show Bubble Revision, Miguel Abreu Gallery and Call Out Tools, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler with Avery Singer and Pieter Schoolwerth. His debut solo exhibition, Cell, was held at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler in 2018. Carver’s collaborative feature film with Daniel Schmidt, The Unity of All Things, was presented at the 2013 Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland. Other film works have been shown in international venues and festivals such as Tate Modern (London, 2014), Berlinale (2015), and the Vancouver International Film Festival (2013).
Carver’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Kistefos Museum (Norway), the Pinault Collection, and the Ståhl Collection (Norway). Engineer Sacrifice, his second solo exhibition with Miguel Abreu Gallery, will open October 27, 2022.