Alexandra Carter Isn’t Afraid of Making a Mess

Alexandra Carter’s art is far from being unoriginal. Born in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts and currently based in San Diego, California, Carter’s work offers her room for exploration, playing with the relationship between control and catharsis.

A cross between painting, drawing, print media, collage, and performance, Carter uses alternative media and surfaces to emphasize a visceral mark. Her work, more often than not, seems un-contained—the ink spilled across a translucent drafting film, with the fluid then juxtaposed with collage elements.

Her paintings, made with layers of puddled pigment and collaged imagery mimic explosive, liquid bodies. The paint she uses tends to puddle and bead on its surface, while the translucent nature of the film allows her to paint on both sides. In one series, she paints using cranberry juice, which refers to her family background (having come from a family of cranberry farmers in New England). Exploiting the staining effect of the juice, she stains antique linens and pillowcases.

“Abstract and minimal work never seemed to be an option for me,” she reflected once in an interview with the Exeter Bulletin. “I needed more to hold onto… 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. That’s why imagery from mythology, folklore and fairy tale have had such a presence in my work.”

While exploring themes like gender, fairytale, and masquerade, Carter hopes to expose not only one’s guts but one’s internal state in a way that can seem both pleasurable and painful. Her work, therefore, pushes the possibilities of painting, creating new textures with ink. Scroll down to see some recent highlights.