Jodie Carey: Early Old at Galerie Rolando Anselmi

Jodie Carey (b.1981) studied textile, fabric design at the Royal College of Art, reflecting part of this practice to work in sculpture. Almost three years ago, she has returned to her foundations in textiles, expanding the concept of plot. In Carey’s works, the product shape is always directly connected to the structure of a process. In her sculptures and installations, she examines textures, especially those of ordinary, often disposable goods, as well as their material consistency and their immaterial reactions.

If there is something that is particularly attractive in Carey’s last works it is his way of moderating a new nature’s image, like someone tuning a piano. Her plot is minimal; her prolonged gaze is tense. The way she notes the spatial issue generates non-specific spaces, because this is not a question of capturing the image but of letting it be constructed from a slowness, from a minute detail.

At Galerie Rolando Anselmi in Berlin, the artist sets an exhibition of a new body works. In this German solo show, titled Early Old, she reflects upon how we look at things, upon how we see and how we do not see, through memories and time. When she tackles a structure the imprecise stands as a border in relation to what is outside the visual range of the sculpture.

It is a question of seeing and stopping seeing. Of waiting for the light once one has found the assembled canvas to stare at, which is never a product of intuition, but rather a matter of specifics. After this it is a fact that the image of matter appears, almost by chance. This is how a simple gesture unleashes reflection. It is a question of apprehending the weaves in order to grant them with a meaning that is never literal, and which, in this new series surrounding time and timelessness, is more pictorial and more abstract.

Carey is concerned with being able to physically make the work herself and therefore with being an artist as communicator, as gatherer. The exhibition explores traditions of commemoration and remembrance. In each of her time-based installations, she covers a site with materials such as ground bone, cigarette ashes, dust, or decaying flowers. Distinctly feminine yet unflinchingly macabre, her elegiac works invoke themes of memory, time, loss, and death. “The artist thus moulds her work into being a visible sign for this undying mortality rather than shrouding its ubiquity,” critic Manuel Wischnewski once noted. “Through this approach, Carey renders the realm of the lost an invisible and intangible part of her work.”

In Berlin, drawing influence from the purity of land and ancient images of dolmens, Carey assimilates a biological simplicity (like in “Fallen” with its porcelain leaves) and large-scale directness to create works that seek a material response to the idea of sculpture, as a carrier for collective memory. “Early Old” comprises of two plaster sculptures cast directly in the ground. The plaster surface bears all the traces of the land in which they were made, engaging with the earth itself: centuries of soil, the skin of the earth, without which there would be no life. Artworks embody time’s passing: Canvas I and Canvas II are created from linen and canvas dipped in plaster and worked on using paint and colour pencil.

At the gallery, sculptures never seem to be finished because they are the product of a curious gaze, those gazes that flee from defined horizons. They thus seem to be patient and born out of an encounter emerging from a deep observation capable of revealing almost unnoticeable aspects of our inner reality to us. Perhaps this is why he grants so much importance to light, which in these latest works takes on a greater prominence, going from chromatic saturation to pictorial reincarnation. Like in painting, colour generates perceptive fissures, and we spectators open our eyes to that disorder without, as Samuel Beckett pointed out, the need to understand, simply letting that truth enter. The truth is that there are ever-present obsessions in Carey’s work, such as her games of lines and a presence of the sculptural element, but also that pictorial softness, in which energy is condensed and everything is revealed, that which makes the outlines and framings flirt with fleeting, narrative, archetypical elements.

Ginevra Bria

Jodie Carey, EARLY OLD ran from 18 March – 22 April at Galerie Rolando Anslemi, Berlin.

1. Installation views from Jodie Carey’s Early Old. Courtesy of Galerie Rolando Anselmi.