Jim Carter

In his volume The Savage Mind, Claude Levi-Strauss uses the term bricolage to define the way mythological thinking reorders materials to solve the problems of each new era. I adopt Levi-Strauss' coinage as a useful definition of my artistic intentions, since it can be interpreted as a method of communicating modern environmental issues through myth, symbol and story. Further, it applies to artistic techniques of constructing work from the resources at hand, emphasizing that materials (and, I would add, the human psyche) be broken and rearranged in order to derive fresh ideas and meanings.

I see in my work, individually, relics and simulacra; collectively, a votive hoard. They have the skew of an old earth’s body, are abstract and torsional to the extent that they reflect, perhaps, the psychological gulf in which we live. Composed of clay and natural materials over a wooden armature they are consistently broken and reshaped, and perhaps characterise me as a bricoleur, coroplast and iconoclast.

I want to be engaged, too, with the gestural, ritual potential of art-making. Though it can often spring from suffering, there is power in a symbolic and meditative act which can be life-affirming and redemptive. It can be a way of coming to terms with loss and of finding a footing in the world again in spite of personal challenges. The use of natural materials is in part an attempt to bring the viewer closer to the source. When combined with words and poetry, it can result in a textured assemblage, a distillation and layering of many experiences that feed the imagination and reflect fundamental truths.