Avatar / John Carson

John Carson, Avatar, 2008



etching on paper

John Carson, a multi-media artist, came to Pittsburgh in 2006 to become the Head of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. While this exhibition represents Carson’s Pittsburgh museum debut, his impromptu performances and sound pieces have been experienced and immensely enjoyed throughout the community at local gatherings throughout the city. Here Carson has installed a series of photographs based on close-ups of scrapes, scratches, and dents on cars. The viewer, however, might be caught unawares by the element of illusion: aside from the clues given by the works’ titles (the names of brands of cars), the images could easily be mistaken for abstractions or satellite images of earth. Meditations on life and death, as well as clever interpretations on the notion of landscape, Carson’s photographs depict partially abstracted vehicular terrains where the line between comfort and catastrophe is just around the corner.
About the Artist
John Carson received his BFA and an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art from Ulster Polytechnic in Ireland and his MFA from California Institue of the Arts. His artwork includes live performances, installation and broadcast work on radio and television. He served as the Head of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University from 2006 to 2016. He joined Carnegie Mellon from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, where he was a Principal Lecturer in Fine Art and Course Director for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. He directed all stages of full-time and part-time curriculum development, organized the guest lecture program and a professional practice course component, and coordinated placements, external projects and international exchange.
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