Clarence Holbrook Carter, well-known for his large architectural paintings and symbolic landscapes, made his early reputation as a painter of the American scene in the 1930’s and 1940’s. These early drawings, watercolors and oils are realistic portrayals of rural America that sometimes express despair and loneliness spurred by the Great Depression.
Following World War II Carter’s style changed. Accomplishments in the field of advertising design encouraged experimentation and abstraction in his work. During the 1950s and 1960s, his work took on an increasingly surrealistic style with “monsters” and imaginary animals stalking fanciful landscapes. A prominent series of the period, Over and Above, features oversized animals leering at the viewer over a wall that dominates the lower portion of his large canvases. More recently, the Transections and Eschatos series incorporates floating, transparent ovoid shapes transposed onto architectural landscapes. They represent the artist’s conception of the human spirit striving for perfection.