Carter Mull’s exhibit, Ethics of Everyday Fiction at Rivington Arms Gallery, interrogates the photographic medium both as material construction and social fabrication. Mull presents us with several large, luminously metallic color photographs, abstractions void of specific social reference, with barely there traces of what is actually ‘representable.’
In Subject (“Umbrella,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, Billboard Magazine Hot 100 Number 1 for weeks June 9 – July 21, 2007), (2007), saturated colors dance like moving water across the surface of the image, calling attention to the plasticity of the material surface and the plasticity of that precise pop cultural detail Using painting and constructivism as his references, Mull subverts the script, suggesting that paint, reduced to its fundamental gesture, is what can point to reality, while photography, reduced to its elemental materiality, is what can point to fiction. ShutterSet & Logo, (2007) are decidedly gestural, the mark of the artist made apparent through brush strokes, ripped tape, and layered imagery. But even so, the marks remain surface as the collages surrender to the medium: depth becomes flattened and ‘reliable’ social meaning eviscerated. One is left to question both the integrity of material and apparatus – a question that ultimately allows us to examine our own position as cultural consumers.
(*Images, top to bottom: Carter Mull, Ethics of Everyday Fiction, September 6 - October 6, 1997, Rivington Arms, Soldiers Playing Cards, 2007, mixed media, 8 x 10 x 2 ft, Courtesy of Carter Mull and Rivington Arms. Carter Mull, Ethics of Everyday Fiction, September 6 - October 6, 1997, Rivington Arms, Collapse (from Paul Outerbridge), 2007, lightjet print on metallic paper, 47 7/16 x 60 in, Courtesy of Carter Mull and Rivington Arms.Carter Mull, Ethics of Everyday Fiction, September 6 - October 6, 1997, Rivington Arms, Set & Logo, 2007, lightjet print mounted to plexiglass, 60 3/8 x 40 1/4 in, Courtesy of Carter Mull and Rivington Arms.)