Daniel Larkin, “Dirty Art,” Hyperallergic, May 10, 2012. Download PDF
“Goings on About Town” The New Yorker, Tuesday, April 24 2012. Download PDF
Nicole Caruth, “Gastro-Vision: From Seeds to Sprouts, Greens Across Manhattan” Art21, May 18th, 2012. Download PDF
Sarah Laskow, “Watch plants swallow up tiny houses in this weird living artwork” Grist Magazine.
Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
-Henry David Thoreau
In Rob Carter’s solo exhibition Faith in A Seed, miniature replicas of three 19th Century estates—Charles Darwin’s Down House, Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden, and Sir John Bennet Lawes’ Rothamsted Manor—will slowly disappear, overtaken by the gardens in which they reside. The transformation will occur over the course of the ten-week exhibition at Art in General from April 13–June 23, 2012.
Faith in A Seed intertwines the languages of science and history into a living sculptural form. The three manors are the centerpieces of a large-scale triangular garden consisting of dandelions, bush beans, and corn, planted in three distinct sections to represent each man’s methodology. Viewers are invited to witness as the garden overcomes the estates in Carter’s controlled but fragile ecosystem in three distinct ways: time-based video projections, peepholes cut into the sides of the garden, and from an elevated viewing platform.
Quietly read audio recordings of writings by Thoreau, Lawes, and Darwin, emphasize the significance of observation and the different methodology of the three men. Darwin’s text focuses on the science behind the movement of plants, Thoreau’s writing discusses mystical detailed observations about the natural world that surrounded him, and Lawes’ text touches on a number of agricultural theories involving the interconnectivity of animal and arable farming. The final section of the exhibition is a series of photographs of scientific experiments and scientific samples. The images were all taken at Rothamsted Research, an agricultural research institution in England, which now continues many of Lawes’ original classical experiments and houses an extraordinarily extensive soil and crop sample collection that dates back to the 1840s.
The exhibition 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 of the environment.
About the Artist
Rob Carter, born in Worcester, Uk, 1976, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (Oxford) in 1998, and his MFA from Hunter College, NY in 2003. He has exhibited internationally and nationally, including solo exhibitions at 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), Art Omi (2008), Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation (2008-2009), AIR Krems in Austria (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.Rob Carter. Faith in a Seed, 2012, video still. Images courtesy the artist.