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Looking Back :Over My ShoulderStephen Carter


‘Looking Back : Over My Shoulder’



Q. I thought we could start by asking about your early years. Where did the interest in art come from?


A. At school I liked a lot of subjects – geography, history, English literature, but especially art. I wanted to draw all the time, but I had a problem finishing things. My art teacher at school… Read More...

2018 - 2019

Studio Conversation November 2019Simon Streather with Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter  + Simon Streather In Conversation


ACAVA Studios, 62 HETLEY ROAD, London W12 8BB


25.11. 2019



S.S. I can remember you saying: - In our desire for clarity – things become obscured.  With these recent paintings what do you think you are trying to clarify and what through the process might become obscured?… Read More...


Just Walking 31.3.17.Stephen Carter

Writing 5.4.17. Walking 31.3.17

On the last day of March 2017 (Friday 31 March), I decide to make a walk on my


What are my thoughts or intentions beforehand?

What are my expectations, what do I hope to find?

I might prefer to think that everything is open-ended and there is some truth to this.

On the other hand I have established the…

Known and Strange ThingsStephen Carter

In a collection of essays by Teju Cole called 'Known and Strange Things' and writing about W.G.Sebald he says : -

"Sebald had a special love for paintings; they are half object, half window into another world."

This simple observation resonates with me and while it might be applied to painting generally - I think it has a very particular bearing on my approach to painting.


Maclise Road SouthStephen Carter

‘Maclise Road South’


(40.5 x 40.5 cms  Acrylic on Canvas 2017-18)


I was walking around the area near to Olympia in Kensington, West London in September 2017 around dusk. On this occasion I was actively looking out for something, but quite what – I didn’t know, something that could feed into my painting. I took a few pictures with my smart… Read More...


London Orientations PaintingsStephen Carter

By 2014, without really looking for it – I find several more scattered locations in London that become the focus for new work. If I reflect on what links these otherwise diverse subjects, I can see that they all in various ways represent processes of change. All around in London it seems that earlier forms of modernism are being torn down to be replaced by newer versions (e.g. ‘Handyside… Read More...

AA Press ReleaseSebastian Craig

Stephen Carter’s images are formed through the competing actions of addition and subtraction. While his works depict actual sites and structures, they also maintain an indirect grip on the physical world, viewing reality through the interpretive lens of a plan, a model or a map. Following Carter’s paintings from the early 2000s, which trace the organisation of newspaper pages or the media’s… Read More...


Paddington Basin and Subway PaintingsStephen Carter

By 2012 my wanderings were taking me to areas close to Paddington Station, such as the newly redeveloped Paddington Basin and to Edgware Road. The pedestrian underpass at Edgware Road had recently been given a name to recall the Clash singer – Joe Strummer. This was part of an attempt to humanise an otherwise alienated non-place (e.g. ‘Edgware Road Underpass South’) Over the period of me… Read More...

The WalkerSimon Streather

Wednesday, 14:23:08, Camera CZ2370Z first records the presence of Caucasian male, mid-sixties, approaching from the northwest. For our purposes we shall refer to him as ‘the walker’. He is dressed casually appropriately for the season. He has a leather briefcase slung over his right shoulder, crossing his body so that the bag falls under his left hand. His gait is unhurried, it would be wrong… Read More...


Paddington PaintingsStephen Carter

By 2008 my city wanderings took me to Paddington Station, which at the time was undergoing major refurbishment and renovation. Similar to the underside of the Westway elevated road, the station offered shelter but not homeliness. I came to think again about the uncanny. Often in these spaces there is no daylight and because of the construction work much of the actual architectural structure… Read More...

The Uncanny / from 1994 ‘Working Through Objects’Susan Hiller

Heimlich, as those of you familiar with Freud’s writings on the uncanny will know, is a very important word with reference to the German word unheimlich, un-homelike, which is translated into English as ‘uncanny’, Heimlich means homelike, homely, cosy, from the word heim, home”. But in Freud’s essay on the uncanny he says something that in English seems very paradoxical, that the heimlich and… Read More...


Westway PaintingsStephen Carter

In 2002 on my way to the studio on the top deck of a 295 bus, I glance up from my newspaper to catch sight of the elevated road of the A40 Westway as we pass beneath. In this moment I recognise that I want to make work that refers to this aspect of my everyday urban experience. This moment marks the beginning of the Westway paintings that approach the possibility of representation of city… Read More...

The WestwayJ.G. Ballard

London is a city that rarely entered the twentieth century, and to find this stretch of motorway little more than a stone’s throw from Marble Arch is a poignant reminder of what might have been. Join it by travelling west along Marylebone Road, not far from 221b Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’s notional address. The WestWay is a continuous overpass some three miles in length, running towards… Read More...

WestwayJelena Krivokapic

Stephen Carter started to paint his set ‘Westway’ in 2002 as a set of paintings and drawings, a kind of continual record of his wondering as a flaneur, a free aimless stroller through chosen localities. The topography that obsessively attracts his attention is the industrial landscape, more precisely the inner space defined by a network of overpasses and motorways that lead to west London. The… Read More...


Smear CampaignRachel Withers

Carter’s paintings, particularly his most recent works, operate instead by draining sensation from the mass-media text. The word-combinations are markedly non-poetic, unglamorous, sometimes faintly absurd, but mostly practically null: “Outdoors Hot Computer”; “United Free Trader”; “Adultery Top Car” or “Windows Home Thrill”. The libidinal dimension of media consumption is left to the viewer’s… Read More...

Word PaintingsStephen Carter

In 2000, I started collecting words that I found on the front covers of popular magazines that were displayed in places like railway stations. As with the newspaper material, amongst other things, I was interested to question my ambivalence towards the subject. In this case I was curious about how this engagement with the material related to consumerism along with collective desire and fear.… Read More...


Polychromatic Newspaper Paintings and ReplicationsStephen Carter

In late 1996, I started introducing colour into my ‘Newspaper Paintings’. I evolved a kind of colour coding that reflected attitudes to colour embodied in early twentieth century versions of modernism. In my scheme white stands for editorial text, blue for editorial image, red for advertising material, yellow for self-referential promotion (i.e. the newspaper promotes itself) and grey for the… Read More...

A Philosophy of WalkingFrederic Gros

We must really manage one day to do without ‘news’. Reading the newspapers in fact only tells us what we didn’t yet know. And that is exactly what we are looking for: something new. But what we didn’t yet know is exactly what we forget immediately. Because as soon as we know it, we have to leave room for what we don’t yet know, which will come tomorrow. Newspapers have no memory: one piece of… Read More...


Newspaper PaintingsStephen Carter

In 1995 I started making ‘Newspaper Paintings’. These emerged out of my previous body of work – ‘Impression Paintings’. The ‘Impression Paintings’ were paintings made up of the information of the painting itself (title, dimensions, materials, date etc) – hand-painted on another surface and pressed onto the canvas resulting in a kind of layered mirror writing that was just about legible. … Read More...

On Some Motifs in BaudelaireWalter Benjamin

Man’s inner concerns do not have their issueless private character by nature. They do so only when he is increasingly unable to assimilate the data of the world around him by way of experience. Newspapers constitute one of many evidences of such an inability. If it were the intention of the press to have the reader assimilate the information it supplies as part of his own experience, it would… Read More...