In 2015 I was offered a retrospective exhibition at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant in Brantford, Ontario to be included in their upcoming “Renewals” exhibition.
“Forged In The Hammer’ ” Doug Carter’s Art from Cultural Debris
Via an English literature tutor the one year I was at University, I was introduced to Kurt Schwitters, not for his visual art which I learned to love later, but by his creative use of language, of spoken word which as a musician and aspiring songwriter, I found inspiring.
I was already interested in the history of art and wasn’t aware of much past Van Gogh and early pre-Cubism Picasso except for Andy Warhol’s ‘soup cans’. Checking out Schwitters’ paintings and their use of found materials along with the traditional oils, led me to the Dadists, Duchamp, cubist assemblage, surrealism and the general deconstruction of traditional fine art methods, styles, techniques and purposes. The Dada artists of WWI and their idea that ‘art’ could be made to criticize the status quo, in fact to totally oppose it, art as rebellion, I was hooked.
I began to scan my neighbourhood for things to make visual art with, bits & pieces of ‘cultural debris’ and found grounds instead of stretched canvas, visual art that would look nothing like the ‘status quo’ of the local art scene. Along the line I discovered Robert Rauchenberg and JohnChamberlain and then found work by Louise Neville and Joseph Cornell at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y.. The aforementioned and many other artists of their era were represented in the gallery’s collection. Karl Appel’s earliest work, paintings on found grounds, showed up at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and an exhibition there by the American sculptor David Smith opened my mind to new ways to ‘assemble pictures’ and look at sculpture. I knew I was on the right track and was going to keep on doing art ‘my way’ following this tradition.
When I started ‘arting’ I hoped to open, through my work, people to other ways of looking at the world and the man-made objects in it and at visual art using found materials in the context of traditional painting. It seemed a great way to start. Responding to the waste generated by a throwaway society, utilizing these nagging reminders of the consequences of modern / current culture is still very important in this age of recycling, climate change and globalization.