Alexandra Carter’s Paintings Are Meant to Look Stained

Illustrator and painter Alexandra Carter explores themes of gender, fairytale, and masquerade, utilizing print media, collage, and performance. Drawing from her personal background – which includes her origins on a cranberry farm in New England – as well as literature, mythology, dance, and costume, her subject matter derives from a large archive of images which she collects and also creates from her own performances.

“Narrative and narrative imagery has always appealed to me,” she relayed in an interview with Girl Trip. “Abstract and minimal work never seemed to be an option for me, I needed more to hold onto, I needed to feel engaged. I think it’s necessary to investigate the stories we grew up with, and other stories that have been told throughout history, and how those have shaped us – not just how they morally shaped us, but how they conjure certain images in our brain. Most of these stories I’ve come upon through narrative resources of literature and film, but also very clearly from the research and image-mining that I conduct while traveling.”

These narratives often rely on her experience as a female artist. “The fact that I’m female is an important part of my work,” she stressed. “My work involves my identity directly, especially since I often use my own body as a model. A lot of artists don’t call themselves feminists or don’t want to be classified as ‘women artists’ and I get that; we should be considered across the whole broad sphere of art discourse, not just as a representation of our gender. Men don’t face that same prescription. However, because we ARE less represented in the art world (in terms of who is being shown at galleries and museums, who is selling, etc), I think shouting out that identity, as a female artist, serves the call for more female representation in the art world.”

Her paintings are meant to look stained, emphasizing the effects of a visceral mark. In one series, Carter paints using cranberry juice, which refers to her background. The fluid is juxtaposed with collage elements; using solvents and other transfer methods she directly appropriates reference images from her archive.

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