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Kendell Carter
at Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Culver City, California
by Michael Shaw


Kendell Carter, “Meditation on Team (Waves for Scottie),” 2017, color Duratran photograph and lightbox, 36 x 48 x 5”

In this ambitious if overcrowded proffering titled “Marvel," the softer touches exceed the heavier blows, where a subtext of race is ubiquitous. Standouts include a series of 'paintings' that involve thin slabs of cast latex, aerosol float-mounted within frames, with reverse graffiti scrawls on their surfaces. Kendell Carter cleverly titles these as some form of 'wave:' "Waves for Breakfast," "Thai Waves in Scandinavia" and "Waves for Steve McQueen" among others. Two other pieces are not only crowd pleasers but also clearly rise above the fray. "Effigy for a New Normalcy VI (Accepting Greatness)" is a pair of gold-plated Nike high-tops hung by their shoestrings from the ceiling; "Meditation on Team (Waves for Scottie)" is a lightbox featuring a man in a Scottie Pippin jersey meditating on a clifftop above a calm, sun-setting ocean vista. 

 

These deft allusions to race and oppression are teamed with two heavy-handed and ultimately more riddle-plagued sculptural installations. "Sewing and Reaping” is installed in a corner with a gold-plated sewing machine, an antique handmade quilt and a pile of denim. It all comes across as contrived. "Cranes for Solange," made up of several pairs of white denim jeans shorts hanging on their own brackets running in sequence around a corner and filling nearly two gallery walls, is paired with small vintage signs mounted above either end pointing to 'white' and 'colored' rest rooms. This is simply quizzical, with no payoff to be found. Elsewhere, several wall and floor latex pieces split the difference of the greater and lesser works in their effectiveness.

Edward Cella Art + Architecture

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