PAST PROJECTS - SECTION ONE 2016 back to 1977

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2016 - SOLITUDE, DARKNESS, LIGHT

Inner peace can be found in places of solitude, where the human and natural worlds have become one, but there is often a journey of transformation that must first occur.  I created these still images for a film that I co-directed with filmmaker/musician Kayla Briet, and dancer/writer/animator Isabela Dos Santos.  We collectively conceived of this project as an exploration of how humans and nature interface in time and space, as expressed in places of solitude.  My task was to use still photography to create an imaginary world that was a blend of abstraction and realism. The narrative for this series that tells the story of a young woman who wants to express herself through dance, but is unsure of herself and hesitant. While exploring ruins that are being overtaken by nature, she finds comfort and confidence in the solitude, and is finally able to express herself. For this project I shot both film and digital photographs and created the final images using layered images, and a selective color palate that starts out warm, moves into a more neutral black and white, and finally brings in selective colors, primarily greens and yellows.  

SOLITUDE, DARKNESS, LIGHT Gallery

2015 - THOMAS CARR: EXPEDITIONS

From May through July of 2015, I was honored by the Denver Public Library with an exhibition of my photography in their  5th floor Western Art Gallery.  The prints in that exhibit were then accessioned into their permanent art collection.  Welcome to my exhibition of photographic work titled EXPEDITIONS.  The work I have chosen represents a continuation of my studies of historic and archaeological places since 2004.  It builds on two previous exhibitions of my work, including my 1995 exhibit title RESTLESS SPIRITS at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and my 2004 exhibit PRESENCE WITHIN ABANDONMENT at the Center of Southwest Studies in Durango.  This series concentrates on the core of my artistic and intellectual endeavors – the exploration of natural landscapes and built places that exhibit a subtle sense of past human presence.  While I have certainly explored areas other than Colorado over the last decade, this series focuses on the state I have called home for over 20 years, and its vast wealth of historic and sacred places.

THOMAS CARR: EXPEDITIONS GALLERY

2014 - THE DREAM CYCLE OF H. P. LOVECRAFT

The photographs in this series roughly reflect my interpretation of what scholars call Lovecraft's dream cycle. This is a series of repeated themes and elements in many of his stories that connect to a larger narrative about mankind's history on Earth, horrors from alternate dimensions, and space faring Old Ones from forgotten times. I have carefully chosen excerpts from some of his stories as they relate to my vision of his world. As I was creating these images I shared them with my wife Laurie. One day she told me she was upset with me because the images had caused her to have nightmares. I replied "great, that's just what I hoped". She replied "not great, what I hope for is to be able to sleep". In any case I hope you will enjoy my creation - but without too many

nightmares.


THE DREAM CYCLE OF H. P. LOVECRAFT Gallery

2010 - EXCAVATING CHILDHOOD

“Excavating Childhood” represents an exploration of aspects of my youth between 1975 and 1980. While walking around the backyard in 2007, I noticed a number of plastic models parts eroding out of the ground. Being an archaeologist by profession, I was intrigued. Finding these “artifacts” from my own youth prompted me to explore my own artwork from the same time period. Fortunately, I had saved many of my old negatives and drawings. I began scanning them and thinking about what I had intended for them when I first created them. I realized that when I first made the photographs and drawings, I had high ideals for what they represented, but was unable to fully realize them given the level of my skills and other technological limits. The collages from this project aren’t exact representations of what I intended them to be when I was young – rather they represent a synthesis of their original intent and my impression of what they mean now looking back as an adult. I've given talks about this project at archaeological conferences, and the topic has been well received.

EXCAVATING CHILDHOOD GALLERY

2008 - CONFLICT ON THE PLAINS

The images in this series represent one artists’ interpretation of the struggle of the Native American peoples of the Great Plains during the 19th century.  This was a time when the United States of American actively sought to destroy the entire Plains Indian culture. The images are photographic montages that combine contemporary photographs of village/massacre sites with 19th century photographs of Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota peoples. Part of the inspiration for this project came from the artist watching the healing process between Anglo Americans and Native Americans. It involves acknowledging what happened in the past, coming to grips with its consequences, and finding a way to mutually move forward. Mr. Carr states that “the sacredness and spiritual power I encountered at the sites was very tangible yet difficult to explain. I approached visiting these places with a sincere reverence for the people who lived and died there, and I hope this is conveyed in the final images.”  

CONFLICT ON THE PLAINS GALLERY

2006 - PUEBLOS OF THE ANCESTRAL NORTH

The ancient Native American peoples of the American southwest first occupied lands along the San Juan River in what is today New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah as early as 1000 BC.  Over the next two thousand years these people would develop into a complex agricultural society that maintained one of the largest populations of ancient peoples in North America.  Historically these ancient people have been called “Anasazi”, but this term is something of a misunderstanding.  There never was a tribe or group of people who called themselves by this name.  The word is attributed to a Navajo (Dineh) term that means “ancient enemy”.  When European explorers entered the Southwest during the 1700s, they often relied on Native American guides.  When asked who had lived in the ancient ruins they would find, Navajo guides would say it was the “Anasazi”—and the term stuck.  Today, archaeologists refer to this archaeological culture as “Ancient or Ancestral Puebloan”, but still use the term Anasazi in research contexts.  The primary archaeological sub-cultures of the ancient people that lived along the San Juan River are called Mesa Verde Anasazi and Chaco Anasazi.  Large villages with massive public architecture, sophisticated water control and farming features, elaborate sacred sites, and countless hamlets are all part of the archaeological legacy left by these Ancient Puebloan people.  Their decedents, the native Puebloan peoples of contemporary New Mexico and Arizona have an origin legend.  It states that their ancestors, the “Hisatsinom” first lived in a cold and dry place to the north that was surrounded by mountains.  That north place is called “Ship’aap”.  Hopi elders refer to the ancient pueblos of this region as the “kiikiqo” or footprints of the ancestors.  This exhibit features photographs from a variety of archaeological sites that represent the ancient homes and sacred landscape of the north place of the Ancestral Puebloan world.  This includes Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, Aztec Ruins National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park.  

PUEBLOS OF THE ANCESTRAL NORTH GALLERY
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2004 - PRESENCE WITHIN ABANDONMENT

This was my first major exhibition after deciding that I still wanted to keep showing my work while working a career in archaeology. My work exposed me to many amazing historic resources that I would photograph.  This portfolio covered the first ten years of living in the Western USA, and was exhibited at the Center for Southwest Studies, the Farmington Museum, and the Anasazi Heritage Center between 2004 and 2007.

PRESENCE WITHIN ABANDONMENT GALLERY

2000 - A FORGOTTEN PLACE

This is a project I initially worked on between 1986 and 1990.  The area was the subject of several undergraduate archaeology projects. In 1998-1999 I revised it and made a documentary film about the original research in the 80s.  It's about a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina farming community with a history of occupation and abandonment - full of scary woods, creepy ruins, and "things that come out of the well at night". You can view the documentary film on The Archaeology Channel.

A FORGOTTEN PLACE GALLERY

1988 & 1994 - ALTERED LANDSCAPES & RESTLESS SPIRITS

This portfolio is comprised of work completed between 1986 and 1992 that was exhibited in two exhibits in 1988 and 1994. All of the work revolves around human kind's impact on the landscape, both contemporary and historical. This work shows the evolution of my transition from more nature based to human-built environments. 

Altered Landscapes/Restless Spirits Gallery

1984 - MCALPINE CREEK PARK

  

This was my first serious portfolio and exhibition. It was a study of the seasons at a local part. I was studying photography and art history at at local community college at the time. Shortly after this series was completed, I switched my major to Anthropology.

McAlpine Creek Park Gallery

EARLY WORK 1977 - 1983

This portfolio contains examples of my earliest serious efforts in photography starting around age 12 and continuing into my first year of college. Many of these photographs were chosen for Scholastic art exhibitions, or for my first juried exhibitions at places like The Light Factory in Charlotte, NC. 

Early Work Gallery