Nathan Eugene Carson: Disco Days
Nathan Eugene Carson
June 17 – July 28, 2022
Smokestack Gallery, Mill Unit #216, 270 Sherman Avenue N. The Cotton Factory, Hamilton ON
Opening Reception: Friday, June 17th, 5 – 8 PM In-person RSVP here
Disco Days presents a solo-exhibition of a new series of monoprints by Hamilton based artist Nathan Eugene Carson. Produced during his time as a printmaker-in-residence with Smokestack’s Analog Print Residency, this extensive body of print work exemplifies the experimental and playful approach that Nathan carries through all forms of his multi-media practice.
Alongside Smokestack’s Master Printmaker, Laine Groeneweg, Nathan embraced an intuitive and collaborative ‘collaged’ printmaking process. Offcut pieces of paper and other material scraps were laid on inked plates of colour with uniquely integrated painted elements before being pulled through the press. The results offer a vastly imaginative range of one-of-a-kind prints grounded in portraiture, expressive gesture, bold form and vivid colour.
An interview between Nathan Eugene Carson and Smokestack Gallery Director, Tara Westermann, follows:
Tara Westermann (TW): Practicing in several different media (largely inclusive of painting and drawing) what have your past experiences in the printmaking medium entailed?
Nathan Eugene Carson (NEC): When I was a student at OCAD, I had the opportunity to try a lot of different mediums during my foundation year which was where I was first introduced to printmaking. I thought I was going to be [focusing my studies] in black-and-white photography and ‘till that point, I didn’t even know printmaking was a thing. But after taking an introductory course in my first year I was hooked. I thought ‘this is where I need to be’. I took an introductory course in silkscreen, but worked with etching the most, which I loved.
TW: How did you feel when you were invited to return to more involved work in printmaking with the Smokestack Analog Print Residency?
NEC: Laine first approached me a few years ago suggesting I come into the Analog Studio and just play. Being approached about the Analog Residency, it was presented as an opportunity to do the same.
TW: What may be the difference between the way you approach your painting or drawing practice vs. the way you approach printmaking?
NEC: I think the biggest difference is that when I’m drawing or painting it’s usually just me in my own studio, whereas working in print with Laine, it feels like I’m working in Laine’s house. The residency was really a partnered cooperation effort between Laine and myself and because Laine and I are so different as artists, I think we complement one another really well. While I work freely on my own, Laine works within a structure that actually offers a lot of benefit for me. I find that I’m much more productive working within a system and after years of what has felt like just random printing sessions in the studio with Laine, now I feel like I’m able to see how things can come together.
TW: Going into the Residency, did you have any preconceived plans or processes in mind to experiment with?
NEC: No, I didn’t have an outline of the project or exhibition [planned] because me and Laine have worked on so many different things together now and its always a bit different. Sometimes we’ll work on something new for a day or two and it feels complete and we move on, while other times I find we’re going back to things that I’m reconnecting with again – to see it in a new way. Nothing is planned.
TW: What is your relationship to portraiture?
NEC: Making works in portraiture always feel like calling on an old friend that I know so well. I know what I do well, which is animals and portraiture.
TW: Are the characters in your prints informed by anyone or anything specifically? Particular individuals, or even yourself?
NEC: No, I don’t know any of them. But for me, the success of a portrait is about depth. When it comes to portraiture, I have to feel the soul of the work.
Nathan Eugene Carson (b. 1980) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design. His drawings and paintings have been featured in several solo and group exhibitions across Ontario including presentations at Verso Gallery (2013) and The Drake Hotel (2014) in Toronto; Free Fall (2016) and Worked Over (2017) both at Oswald Gallery, Hamilton; 100 Paintings (2019) at The Carnegie Gallery, Dundas; and Pansies (2021) at Paul Elia Gallery, Hamilton to name a select few. Carson’s recent travelling solo-exhibition, Cut From The Same Cloth (2020-2021), was presented at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and the Meridian Arts Centre, Toronto. He is currently the RBC Artist-In-Residence at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Smokestack Gallery exhibits the work of artists who have produced their print projects in Smokestack’s Analog and Digital studios. The partnered operations between Smokestack Studios and Smokestack Gallery seek to establish a connection between the production of print works and their final presentation; to offer a greater understanding of the uniquely technical and creative processes involved in these specialized artistic disciplines. Smokestack is committed to the support and establishment of connections within the printmaking community and between printmakers and the wider viewing public.
The 2022 Smokestack Analog Print Residency and exhibition of artworks created by residency participants has been made possible with the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council.
Monday – Friday: 10 AM – 4 PM or by appointment
Mill Unit #216, 270 Sherman Avenue N.
The Cotton Factory
Accessible (with provided assistance)