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Todd Carpenter's monochromatic paintings on view in solo show at LAUNCH LA
Todd Carpenter, Eagle, 2012. 8"x16", oil on board. Photo: Courtesy LAUNCH LA.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- LAUNCH LA presents Todd Carpenter's Solo show, Grey. In this exhibition Carpenter demonstrates that his appeal lies both in the meticulous forethought with which he crafts his works and in his natural eye for what makes a scene truly captivating.

At first Carpenter's paintings are blankets of monochromatic light and shadow, drawing together diverse subjects into singular, often photorealistic impressions. All is unified by a myriad of grey. Yet the more we look, the more the details stand out. Our eyes are drawn to the stark beauty of trees with withered, textured trunks, complex arrangements of bare branches, the evening light that forces dark shapes outward and the mist that swallows spectral trees into the backdrop. In other paintings there is a struggle for supremacy - city scenes face-off with what remains of their natural settings; a jungle of murkily radiant street lights competes with the subdued patches of night-black foliage, a mountain towers over its man-made foreground, while artificial light eats into its cloak of natural darkness. In some paintings it is easy to imagine primordial woodland, while in others, cities sit serenely and comfortably in their surroundings, assuming dominance over nature. From afar these paintings are windows into landscapes frozen in sharp contrast; up close they are a jumble of oil paint, pallet knife scars and the board beneath.

Even with a total absence of the human form and the dominance of a much maligned color - grey - these paintings remain almost unexpectedly emotionally ripe and atmospheric, subsuming us completely into the artist's "unreal realism".

Todd Carpenter's career is as multifaceted as his work. Carpenter teaches photography and has also previously taught Neuroscience at the San Diego New School of Architecture and Design. He avidly pursues the field of Neuroesthetics - how the human brain interacts with art and what elements it perceives as beauty. This understanding has led him to master the effects of light, depth and visual space as precision tools in the creation of art. His art has been exhibited at LAUNCH LA and other venues around the United States as well as Hong Kong and Seoul.

In my paintings I examine how depth and atmosphere are revealed to us by light.

I am interested the role light plays in our recognition and aesthetic experience of the visual world. The interaction between light and objects is what makes it possible for us to see the objects, and our comprehension of what we perceive is based on subtle variations in the light coming off of the external world. Light enables us to understand properties such as form, texture, and depth. In fact we seem to recognize objects not so much by their details as by the manner in which they illuminate: different clouds can assume an infinite variety of shades or shapes, but clouds filter and diffuse light in similar ways, and it is this interplay with light that enables us to understand the presence of a cloud. Even the atmosphere of a place - not just the actual physical gases but also the unique feeling we get from the air of a certain locale - is somehow conveyed to us by the manner in which light makes its way through it. This ephemeral passage of light can also give rise to the sense of beauty that we sometimes receive from a place: when we witness 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 the behavior of light, I create paintings that are simple and vague, ignoring color and most of the other details that make up the objects of the real world. This often results in a stylized depiction of the world, an unreal realism tuned to the imperfections of our perception.

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September 16, 2012

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Todd Carpenter's monochromatic paintings on view in solo show at LAUNCH LA

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