By: Carl Straw, Seraphin Gallery Intern
In these media-centric times, branding and the restructuring of corporate identity paired with the sheer rise of technology has an undeniable effect on artistic expression. The works of Danielle Cartier are unique for their use of the outside world as both inspiration and material. Exploring the commercialized reality as a reduce, recycle, reuse sequence that is a bombardment of imagery, while creating multiple layers of vibrant infusions of color, Cartier draws her viewers into an experience all too familiar. Utilizing a mixed media process with an emphasis on collage, Cartier consciously pays homage to the works of famed Pop and Neo Dadaist Robert Rauschenberg, while establishing her own 21st century urban perspective. His works, like Cartier’s, examine elements of the contemporary world to unlock an underlying effect from the viewer—embedded within the surface. Rauschenberg challenged the limits of representation, the extension of the canvas, and the dimensionality of the pictorial plane. Cartier manipulates these principals through her own interpretation of the image--both in physical material and created form.
Cartier began her studies at Sonoma State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, concentrating in both painting and printmaking. This past May, she received her Masters of Fine Art from the Graduate School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work began with a plethora of found material—an accumulation of printed papers, magazine clippings, and newspaper scraps. Cartier states, “The images that circulate throughout society are constantly being constructed, reconstructed and recycled. And here I am, decoding the ever more complex messages, signs and traces of the everyday.” In works, such as Tear Out My Eyes completed in 2017, she is intentionally taking scraps from the world and reinventing their purpose. Her placement of these images is what draws a comparison to the works of Rauschenberg. Her placement of objects such as a folding chair, a repeated ring pop form, the facade of a school, are all associative connections we have to present day society. These images are immediately recognizable, no matter the extent of Cartier’s artistic integration. But the question then becomes, Does the sum of these parts create a contextual whole, or an imitation of the post-modern repetition and inescapable barrage of imagery?
This same query could be said for such works as One More and We’ll be Almost Halfway There, completed in 1979 by Rauschenberg. Here, images of text are warped simply by printing them backwards. The identity of this form is recognizable, possibly from a newspaper or magazine, but has the essence of the printed words remained the same? In many of Rauschenberg’s works he discovers the core responsibility of images and the multiple facets of composition. As stated in The Flatbed Picture Plane, by famed art historian and critic Leo Steinberg, “Rauschenberg’s picture plane had to become a surface to which anything reachable-thinkable would adhere. It had to be whatever a billboard or dashboard is and everything a projection screen is, with further affinities for anything that is flat and worked over—palimpsest”. There was no other place for Danielle Cartier’s piles of ripped leftovers, except to become embodied by the canvas.
The real goal of these artists is not to literally trick the viewer—as in trompe l’oeil still lifes, surrealist landscapes, or Ron Mueck’s brand of hyperrealism—but rather to display and represent the world for what it is. A world where images and symbols are consistently being reshuffled into a deck; to then reappear as if we had forgotten about them. These significant markers are what artists like Rauschenberg and Cartier seek out. They discover the symbols we unconsciously hold dear, to iconicize them against the memorialized space of fine art and art history. Both artists will be on display until August 13th.