Diane CarrTurtle Self, 1985. Acrylic, spackling paste on sheet aluminum.

Diane Carr is known for her experimental use of paint-dyed spackling. Her early works involved an intricate process by which she would entwine a string into a cube of spackle, then tug it out to spawn a messy, consequential form for which the artist takes responsibility as much as she doesn’t. This 1985 wall sculpture is the result of an advanced version of this process– it is spackling layered onto aluminum sheet. Its shape resembles a shield with fins that are painted blue, and a surface painted black with very delicate green lines to contour its curve, then four light orange lines toward the center. Many of Carr’s works, including this one, evoke forms found in nature. The care with which Carr adds painted detail contributes to this effect. The lines mimic natural patterns that are consistent with those found on our planet’s most enigmatic creatures. Carr through her art connects to our natural world, and what we take from the title, Turtle Self, is that she pays homage to the natural beauty of a turtle shell– something so important and functional that it holds an artistry of its own. What she sought in this artwork is a median between what we can create and what exists naturally, by reimagining a turtle shell as something abstract; as a work of art.

Diane Carr received her Bachelor’s from Michigan State University and her MFA from Wayne State University. She taught painting and sculpture at Wayne State for some time while remaining an active member in the Detroit art community. She has exhibited at notable institutions such as the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum in Saginaw, Michigan; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Detroit Artists Market; the Anton Art Center; and Willis Gallery.

Written by Danielle Cervera Bidigare