Beth Carter


Beth Carter’s sculptures depict ancient wanderers seemingly lost in the labyrinth of Classical mythology, only to be rescued, brought out into the light, and realised in bronze. On the one hand they have a dramatic, almost theatrical quality. A group of figures bunches together as if on stage, treading fearful into the tragedy to come. A deflated king sits Lear-like in his throne beneath a crown that seems to belittle his regal pretensions. One solitary wanderer lights his way through the penumbra with a candle, his warrior headdress serving as no protection against the uncertain threats that come with age and the passage of time. These are characters lost in the old patriarchal tales of power, might, and conflict, themselves ageing and becoming ever more fragile as the world moves forward around them. In this sense Beth’s works play out a psychological drama of masculinity and its stereotypes. Bronze as a material echoes the serious solidity and weight of both Classical myth and the masculine values they encompass, but Beth’s particular approach discovers a sensitivity beneath the hard facade. A punch-drunk king wears a ragged crown, wearied by the travails of existence. A minotaur, the archetypical embodiment of raw power in the body of a man, sits dejected on his haunches as if questioning the infinitude of his lot. These are characters condemned forever to search in the darkness in the hope of finding their way, Odysseus-like, to something resembling home. They describe a sensitivity, even a fragility, to traditional tropes of masculine strength and power.