Nathan Carey

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Artist Statement

My practice is sculpture and performance oriented, in which objects are presented, manipulated and often created alongside guided thought experiments. These thought experiments have an indexical, poetic, and proportional relationship to the sculptures being created and presented in space with the viewers. This might look like: sending a message through an apple across the universe, multiplying a shampoo bottle to exist infinitely in its own space, observing oneself while hearing a description of an immortal life, and traversing through a boundless theater.

Recently, I’ve been translating the logic of these performances into video. Not documentation, a redesign, formed by the consequences of video as a medium. Specifically in the way it renegotiates my presence while altering the sculptures’ portrayal.

In reading a description of Hell from The Bible, evangelical pastor James MacDonald added a clarification. He said, “Look up here for a minute. When The Bible calls it the Lake of Fire, it’s not like water with fire floating on top of it. It’s not what it means. What it means is, that just the same way that a lake is water from shore to shore, so Hell will be a place, where instead of it being filled with water, Hell will be fire, from shore to shore. There won’t be any place in Hell that isn’t fire.”

Was MacDonald concerned about the effects of a metaphor on the mind’s eye?

My work seeks to draw attention to the conditions of the performance itself—suspension of disbelief, trust between audience and performer, the relationship between the textual description and physical existence, while raising the question whether perhaps not all performances are meant to be seen. I often ask viewers to close their eyes. It’s a simple request that helps me create an illusion without possessing the sleight of hand.

I think viewers are smart, I often feel intimidated by their presence. They bring superior tools for reading artworks. Their chops are cut.

Another story; Dr Ronald Mallett might be the future inventor of the time machine, but he also invented it long ago in his childhood, to bring back his late father. He was using the cover of an illustrated version of the H.G. Wells classic as a blueprint and collected materials from around the house to construct his machine. Mallett believed that the functionality of the machine was connected to its representation on that cover.

The observation of the viewer is a creative act, though it is neither wholly constructive nor destructive. While bringing events into being, our observation does so at the expense of collapsing and excluding other outcomes. My work adheres to the belief that art has the privileged power to exist in the same physical parameters as viewers while at the same time transcending those parameters, in effect both grounding and transporting those viewers.



b. 1988
Lives and Works in New York


City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, NY
M.F.A. Sculpture, 2014

University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, WI
B.F.A. Studio Art, 2011


The Second Version of, “The Version of You that’s Still Alive” performance at Werkplaats Typografie, Arnhem, Netherlands
Contributed to Cinema Balash, organized by Rotem Linial as part of “Another Place” at 205 Hudson Street Gallery, Hunter College, NY
The Version of You that’s Still Alive, as part of “Don’t Forget To Make A left Turn At Albuquerque” curated by Seung-Min Lee at Primetime, NY
Guided Solar System Walk, Vol. 1, organized by Emmy Catedral as part of “Bringing the World into the World” at the Queens Museum, NY
“2014 Hunter Thesis Exhibition” at 205 Hudson Street Gallery, Hunter College, NY

Contributed to The Art Lending Collection, created by Transformazium at the Braddock Carnegie Library, Braddock, PA
Untitled, performance at “Evening of Performance” curated by Malik Gaines at Hunter College, NY
Catstick as a kind of Schrodinger’s chap, as part of “The Performance will not be Televised, but the Audience will be Recorded” curated by Irvin Morazan at the SVA Theater, NY
Untitled, performance with Christine Pogatchnik as part of “We are in the Basement, Learning how to Print” a project by the Werkplaats Typografie at the NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1, NY
Spaghettification, as part of “Practice!” curated by Maria Chavez and Present Company, NY
No Sleight, as part of “Performance Not Drama” curated by Irvin Morazan at Present Company, NY


2010 Bud and Betty Micheels Grant