“During the last several years I have created three series of hand-built iconic structures, arranged in the studio then photographed in natural light. My intent was to compose the familiar landscapes of New England and Long Island by building small scale stage sets out of clay, wood, and canvas, then painting and drawing the back drops. The resulting rural scenes evoke an impression of loss and reverie. In the third of the series there is no narrative. Line and structure remain, implying interior and exterior space. Simplifying is what I like to do best.
The dryer lint work, minimal and process-based, is about collecting and assembling. One work can take up to a year to complete. Literally and metaphorically the pieces have been inspired by “working around the house.” The lint assemblages pare away as much as possible yet still continue to evoke the impressions of home and memory of place.
I have also begun a body of work assembling blocks of painted paper, binding them with string in a grid pattern. Collecting a number of bound blocks (or books), I assemble a low relief and abstract woven tableau. A single gridded block reveals the simplicity of form and material.
Concurrently, I am painting and staining paper, building up layers of paint, washing some layers away and leaving worn palimpsest surfaces of exterior sites and floor plans. I love the idea of building forms and spaces of a questionable entity.” — CC
Carolyn Conrad was born in Massachusetts and grew up in a rural town steeped in New England history, a large source of her inspiration. Her early art training at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and undergraduate work at Massachusetts College, helped form her minimalist and conceptual aesthetic. She first exhibited in and around Boston and then moved to New York City, where she received a MFA from New York University. She currently maintains a studio in Sag Harbor, NY.
Conrad’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries, institutions and museums. Exhibitions and installations include: Parrish Museum, Southampton, NY; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY(solo); folioeast, East Hampton, NY; Pamela Williams Gallery, Amagansett, NY; Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT; Alex Ferrone Gallery, Cutchogue, NY; Art in General, New York, NY; Atlantic Gallery, New York, NY; Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA; Islip Museum, Islip, NY; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; New England School of Photography (solo), Boston, MA; Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA; and Cloitre des Billettes, Paris, France.
rotating exhibit of current & recently sold photographs
CAROLYN CONRAD speaks to folioeast’s COCO MYERS
CM/ WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU PRIMARILY USE? AND WHY?
CC/ My favorite materials are paper, linen, canvas, clay, plaster, wood, watercolor and graphite/charcoal. I like materials that take and absorb stain—a material washed, rubbed, pressed into another surface. Edges usually blur or soften, implying times past.
CM/ CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE TECHNIQUES THAT YOU USE TO CREATE THE IMAGES OF HOUSES IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
CC/ The architecture of "house" and surroundings are my favored icons constructed or deconstructed in a minimal setting. For the last several years I have constructed stages in the studio for the images I photograph. I make the props in the photos with drawings, paintings and by sculpting and constructing, moving objects around and playing with the light before snapping the shutter. The process is limitless but the outcome can take days or weeks.
CM/ WHAT ABOUT YOUR NEW DRYER LINT PIECES AND STRING PIECES?
CC/ My dryer lint work has been ongoing for ten years. Like some of my other work, constructions or assemblage, they engage in a process of containment: How to keep delicate, fragile materials together. Binding stacks of paper gives me the satisfaction of order and control.
CM/ WHEN DID YOU MOVE OUT HERE?
CC/ I moved to Sag Harbor in 1997 with my son and husband after living for twenty years in SoHo. I felt a need to reconnect with my rural roots in New England and was also in need of a new expanded horizon.
CM/ SO THE AREA INSPIRES YOUR WORK?
CC/ Working with the "memory of place," my early beginnings in New England and now the East End of Long Island are definitive influencing factors.
CM/ DO YOU HAVE ANY WORKS BY EAST END ARTISTS IN YOUR HOME? WHO WOULD LIKE TO OWN?
CC/ Mary Ellen Bartley, Linda Alpern, Jenny Gorman, James DeMartis, Eric Dever, Claire Watson, Toni Ross. Would love work by Mary Heilmann or Keith Sonnier.
CM/ ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR WORK/PROCESS?
CC/ I often think how much easier it would be to put pencil or paint to paper or canvas and not go through many steps before completion of a piece. But my work habits have been there for years and are part of my personality.
PORTFOLIO OVERVIEW OF PHOTOGRAPHY
rotating exhibit of current & recently sold mixed media