About the Artist
Jeff Carpenter was born in 1953 in Greenville, Delaware. He studied with the painter Tom Bostelle there and then went to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned a BFA Film, in 1976. His thesis project, a short animated film called Rapid Eye Movements played the Cannes, Berlin, Telluride and New York film festivals. His first gallery exhibition was in 1974 at the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh. His work has been shown at P.S.1, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, and the Centre Pompidou.
Every one of us has experienced, in dreaming, or daydreaming, or perhaps in poetry, imaginary ways of seeing a narrative. There are connections between things and aspects of our lives that cannot be well described rationally, a kind of beauty that doesn't usually appear in our day-to-day consciousness, except by surprise, but that provides a different and equally important way of perceiving our lives. These impressions may be sparked anew, like a déja vu, by imagery that resonates in that same archetypal way. It’s important to remain aware of this other way of seeing, this language of the imagination; it helps us to expand the way in which we live, because the definitions by which we live are themselves the product of the cultural imaginary.
If you daydream a memory of a wonderful day it’s rarely just one “snapshot” that you summon, it’s many images - the full panorama, the light in her eyes, the wind in the leaves - all layered one on top of each other. If the construction of those layers is apparent in the final piece, if the artist’s hand is seen or even just felt, then I think it opens the door to allow the viewer to stand in the artist’s shoes, to feel in direct, first-person terms, the subconscious narrative threads that are weaving together in the work. In some of these paintings, I’ve made layers with implied transparency, and with the Plexiglas paintings I’ve painted the layers on separate transparent panels in semi-transparent acrylic paint.
The real pleasure in conjuring up the memory is not in any one part as much as it is in slipping through the images. I pursue that subconscious effect; to combine images in a way that tricks the mind to flicking from one image to the next, back and forth, a mental flickering that is slightly beyond our control. Art that induces a momentary wobble of perception that triggers the subconscious, making us the projector in a cerebral movie. To capture those ineffable moments of our lives that defy words, that can best be summoned visually.