Todd Carpenter’s multidisciplinary practice is influenced by black and white photography and informed by the perceptual subtleties of light. Having earned a Master’s degree in Neuroscience, Carpenter’s work reveals an intimate understanding of how light is perceived to create mood and atmosphere. The restriction to black and white is crucial to the work as it forces Carpenter to simplify his subject and only use light where it is necessary. These new works take inventory of negotiated spaces.
In my paintings I attempt to portray light, space, and atmosphere.
One of the things that interest me is the role light plays in our recognition and aesthetic experience of the visual world. The effects of light are critical for our comprehending of what we see, as subtle variations in light enable us to understand properties such as form, texture, depth, and even atmosphere. We even seem to recognize objects not so much by their details as by the manner in which they are illuminated: individual clouds can take on an infinite variety of shades or shapes, but all clouds tend to filter and diffuse light in similar ways; and when we see sunlight coming through a forest, it is not the specific leaves and branches so much as the tones and contrast that affect us aesthetically.
In order to emphasize light and atmosphere, I create paintings that are generally simple, ignoring color and most of the other details that make up real objects. The result is often a stylized depiction of the world, an unreal realism tuned to the imperfections of our perception. ~ T. C., 2010