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Andie Carver

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Watson Hall, Columbia University, July 2023

Andie Alexandra Carver

Walking into Andie Carver’s studio day or night creates a breath of peace. A moment of respite so infrequently experienced in New York City it imbues the way she both fits and fails to fit the culture itself: her internally motivated artistic practice, yet unwavering stillness. 

 

Despite the initial relief, the longer I linger in her studio, the greater aware I become about the dualism of respite itself. 

 

What is it that we so desperately need a breath from? 

 

Andie’s work confronts this irony head on as she holds space for both the beauty of natural life and the grief of death in simultaneous honor. Finding meaning in her paintings doesn’t require a trained eye, but a caring one; a sitting with and patient presence she graciously guides. 

Andie chooses to depict creatures and living things –– or dead and decaying ones –– not for their aesthetic compliments to her earth-toned palette, but for their role in often overlooked functions. What on surface level may present as “landscape” is actually a consciously, meticulously constructed ecosystem of species whose particular needs are served, left unmet, or met in unusual ways. Living collaboratively on the canvas, her subjects arise and intersect between worlds she’s witnessed and one’s shes imagined. 

 

While she wouldn't appreciate, and might in fact shudder, at my use of the word meticulous to describe her practice, it is undeniable. 

 

Although her best paintings, or best moments in paintings, come forward during bursts of unplanned energy that move her hand while her mind remains still, I believe this more impulsive  practice comes about naturally because of her commitment to study the life around her when she is not in the studio. This mindfulness and curiosity –– plus a meta-analysis of the books, videos, poetry, and music she’s found home in –– enter her work with great intention, displaying her attentiveness and unique tastes.

Andie’s world dreaming blurs hierarchical notions of power between human and non-human relationships and increases awareness of the overlapping, entangled systems at play in nature. In turn, calling the viewer to enhance their own interpersonal connection and care for the way they understand, move through, and touch their local surroundings.  

Further still, Andie’s complex ecosystems concurrently dissolve a hierarchy of emotion. Joy, pain, and wonder all share a canvas with equal value and importance as she represents multiple reactions to cycles of life. 

Taken as her ongoing message, I understand this theorizing to say that we are not infallible, but we are also not to feel overcome with guilt as we grapple with the state of our environment. Rather, Andie’s paintings point out symbiotic possibilities that move me toward more cooperative cohabitation and away from avoidance. 

 

An artist in the true sense, the kind my grandmother described as having the need to get up and paint each day, Andie is dedicated to deepening her understanding of how to create balance through oil painting. In effect, bringing us closer to understanding alongside her. 

Andie Carver is a current MFA candidate at Columbia University in New York City originally from South Carolina where she received her BFA from the College of Charleston. 

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