A selection of critical texts includes:
• Andrew Carnie, Atlas, Interalia Magazine (web, subscription), interview, Richard Bright, February, 2015
• You may feel a little unusual: Andrew Carnie's Works on the Cultural Imagination of the Heart (PDF) by Professor Tammer El-Sheik, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
• Art + Science Now, Stephen Wilson, Thames and Hudson (ISBN-13: 978-0500238684), 2010
• Hygiene: The Art of Public Health (web) Helen Coxall, Pam Skelton, Tony Fletcher, Journal of Visual Culture, April, 2003
A series of publications on www.blurb.co.uk by Andrew Carnie are available for purchase including:
• Andrew Carnie, Slice, 2008, 25 x 20cm, 180 pages (from £54.07)
• Andrew Carnie, Magic Forest, 2008, 25 x 20cm, 198 pages (from £58.36)
• Andrew Carnie, Seized, 2010, 20 x 25cm, 44 pages, (from £27.74)
Andrew Carnie’s Metamorphosis of Alchemy and Artifice
Andrew Carnie's art generates a vessel that transports you beyond yourself. He merges the worlds of the physical form with esoteric questioning. Many of Carnie’s projects include anatomical imagery, anthropomorphism, and reimagining’s of familiar forms in unexpected settings. Through exploring Carnie’s work there’s a prevalent relationship between medium and imagery. They work together to bond the ideologies of his pieces, and force the imagination into a space of new perspectives. His mediums display a multitude of ephemeral digitization, household materials, and print based work. Carnie’s background in chemistry and science pioneered the road for his adornment of the human body. He elevates the finite nature of anatomy with questions of identity, medicine, and human potential.
The architecture of his artwork, seen in We Are Where We Are, traces the roadmap of the body. This work marries the imagery of the physical body with the analogue projection of digitally made images. With the evolution of technology, this piece brought about a lot of questioning for me. There’s a deep history of evolution, development and oneness that it exemplifies. In the modern age many of us are disconnected. We are forced into the digitized realm, feeling more like avatars than physical forms. It’s interesting to bring this humanness to a projection space, as both share an ephemeral nature. The world of science, technology, and the human body all become a merged idea in many ways. This work questions the idea of dualism. The mirroring of nature with venous systems, the skull with the human face, and the interior vs. exterior reality of our bodies. Carnie’s curation of this piece is where his storyline unfolds. The structure is powerful in crafting the narrative that evolves as you walk through the space. It deteriorates the body away from a sense of identity, and into an environmental oneness. You become one with space as you question the fact that everyone's anatomy is the same, and in many ways mimics the movement of nature. The life cycle that biology creates is not as divisive as life seems to make it. I hold a deep admiration for Carnie’s ability to navigate the familiar in a way that makes you feel like you’re viewing the world for the first time.
Carnie’s work is keen on exemplifying the ideas of time and impermanence. In the 2015-piece Soap Babies, we see another snapshot of the familiar in an unexpected space. A piece of soap is used as a sculptural medium for a fetus stuck in utero. The baby is laying inside of a porcelain sink, sheltered by an umbilical cord. This piece brought up a lot of questions for me, as well as a near impossibility to look away. There’s a mesmerism in seeing a human baby in such a vulnerable state. The idea of a soap structure emphasizes the transitory state of infancy. The idea that with enough time the entire structure will wash away, similar to the short-lived nature of youth. Many humans are familiar with the emotional space. We hyper focus on the inner workings of our mind, and disconnect from the natural art of anatomy. Carnie’s work makes you question the idea of life itself. Where we come from, how we got here and where we go next. There’s a power in generating pieces that not only mean something to the artist, but offer up a world of possibilities for viewership alike. Everyone bonds differently with Carnie’s work, because it’s a part of all of us in many ways.
When you take a look under the skin, you uncover the world that lives within all of us. The neural network, and unimaginable synergy between body structures that keep us alive. The world of science has separated the modern everyday folk from bonding with the magic of the body. The autonomous nature of the body fused with the subjectivity of identity is a fascinating concept. In Carnie’s laser cut books, for example Unfolding Sheets, he uses imagery that feels crafted for the algorithms of the brain. The prints operate like a roadmap of neural networks, displaying a symmetry of shapes in delicate detail. This work also merges the ideas of nature, identity, beauty and self. Our perceived idea of perfection has become skewed with time. Nature itself breeds symmetry, redundancy and patterns. Even down to the parallels within our body, there’s structure elements that stay consistent. Our brain perceives symmetry as beauty in many ways. It’s a part of the world all around us, and a natural derivative of life itself. When I look at Carnie’s work it feels like mathematics, art, and science join in one space. Even referencing the unfolding of pages to that of sheets grounds the work in realism. Similar to the aforementioned medium choice of soap. With intention each piece of Carnie’s interconnects and paves a road of new thought.
Carnie also has a few pieces that integrate the medium of balloons. This creates an interesting pattern of inhalation and exhalation. As well as reigniting the common thread of temporality. His works highlight an ever-changing reality—a space that exists in flux. One of his newest works in progress, a set of Meteorological Balloons bring us into the state of life and the beyond. This piece takes you on a collision course of various different worlds. His infamous anatomical images reappear printed across balloon structures. Accompanied by the venous structure of leaf pathways, and other provocative visual allegories. This piece feels like a conversation on marginality, liminality and anti-structure. There’s an expression of space and time amongst the familiar, constantly evolving into something new. The use of balloons evokes a commentary of life, death and rebirth. They exist whether deflated or inflated, however tell a different story.
Carnie’s combination of imagery, sculpture, and medium all build a world of their own. The evocation of two-dimensional images into the three-dimensional space is dramatically influential on his pieces. If you go to see Carnie’s work you’re engulfed by objects through movement, touch, visuals and setting. Each piece breeds a roadmap of its own, that unconsciously controls how you digest the material. There’s something beautiful about finding escapism in the familiar. Carnie gives you a moment to exist in the space between. The space between reality and surrealism, science and nature. Overall, when you step into Carnie’s world, you reimagine your idea of self, and break boundaries of limitations you never thought possible.
Maddie Williams Artist, Writer, USA