In their first collaboration together, artists Nico Gardner and Lauren Carter continuously shift between the personal and the general, the specific and ambiguous, creating new work in conversation with each other. With a primary focus on desire, ritual, identity, and the expression of human need, Surface vs. Sap addresses the power and persuasive nature of mundane, domestic objects.
Ordinary household possessions become intertwined in a person’s daily life as symbolic evidence of a sense of selfhood and identity. These metaphors are employed in this exhibition to explore the universal relationship between people and objects. The artists’ use of found or purchased items is a starting point to explore themes that ultimately result in a collaboration of both material culture and making. Riffing off of each other’s frequencies and disrupting their respective practices, the artists create new works that highlight similarities in their decision making while embracing their respective differences.
Nico Gardner is a Japanese-American interdisciplinary designer, maker and critical thinker. He holds an MFA in Fiber + Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BA in Fine Arts, and a BA in Art History, both from Rice University in Houston, Texas. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and acquired by both public institutions and private collections. Nico is core-faculty in the Textiles Department at Lillstreet Art Center and a Teaching Artist at Hyde Park Art Center.
Lauren Carter (b. 1982) holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico and a BFA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Painting and Metalwork. Primarily working in mixed media sculpture and installations, she often includes found objects and personal items that are synonymous with loss, vulnerability, and sentimentality. Carter is a native of south Louisiana and presently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois where she is a teaching artist at Marwen.