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Chelsea Cater: lightning talk

Chelsea Cater: lightning talk

January 12 – February 10, 2019

Opening reception: Saturday, January 12, 4 – 8 PM

CPR workshop & closing reception: Sunday, February 10, 2 – 6 PM


a single strike

before another

moon dance

moon, dance



organic rocks

lightning talk

- Chelsea Cater, California, 2018

The sky is a transcript of hazy remarks. Read aloud in real time, starless, and lightly annotated. A haze hugs the lights along the skyline, unbothered by the wind. Light follows a different rhythm. You are on another continent, and I notice a perfect family of posts standing, marking old architecture. I remember a walk on the beach in California, seeing stocks of kelp sticking up out of the water, strands unmoored along the sand. You showed me blueprints for the house you want to build, on a red planet. Your favorite color is purple; we’d start from scratch, drink water sparkling with lime. One detail that is still unconfirmed is how many stories there will be.

I watch the water, I am early to meet a friend. The first night of the new year’s darkness is really many dark grays and browns. There is an overtone of magenta, and I wonder what that color forebodes. I remember that I can count the seconds between lightning strikes, and by some equation guess where a phenomena is, how far away or close to my body. We have apps for that but they are of no use. My fingers type over silver water, foam and leaves float, softly and angularly, respectively. In the morning, I watched the sun come up red and triumphant but also bleary in its coming; it had already visited you, and planted a Pythagorean kiss elsewhere, some other cheek. My phone can’t understand the color. But it can also take time for me to understand things. I can’t play music, so noticing the glints in the stonework at my feet is me improvising, and I feel the wind bluster around and ahead of me. The wind in the grass is as loud as the freeway. There were a few passersby that have already moved on, loping off into a more distant darkness.

In the morning, I awake with my head cold, and the skyline outside my window adorned in fog. I think of my favorite distant city, whose trees grow with less sunshine and less shivering, all year round. I could walk up and down those hills for hours, until I reach your street. There is less bustling, and so it seems like there is more room to move, take bigger steps. The train takes me to the city center, I spend the ride mooning out the window. And in no time, it is time to see you.

- Chelsea Cater, New York, 2019

6BASE is pleased to present Chelsea Cater: lightning talk, a solo exhibition on view January 12 through February 10, 2019. This is the eleventh exhibition in the space and will include twelve new paintings and drawings made on site by New York-based artist Chelsea Cater.

In her work, Cater explores how identifiable objects, textures, and natural elements can be both realistically depicted and abstracted to energize and engage the surrounding space. Loosely painting in acrylics, oil sticks, and water mixable oil, she vertically and horizontally contrasts muted warm and cool hues within the same composition or across related works. As she intuitively moves through her palette, the artist repeats forms, such as orbs, fern branches, and clouds. The works featured in lightning talk introduce new motifs, such as lightning bolts, that add to the consistent visual language that she has developed over the past six years.

Cater’s use of negative space in tomorrow on view creates spatial illusions that invoke a sense of depth within the composition. Similarly, reclined orb on paper and waves at first glance on gessoed paper, both illustrate the contours of a landscape, while powwow and midnight bolt, saturated in deep blues and purples, suggest a close-up of a night’s sky.

Unlike previous works made by the artist that are painted from memory, these works capture time in a different way –– portraying a moment before or after an event is present. Lightning talk reflects on moments of solitude, absent of outside influence and distraction; conjuring something that the artist hasn’t recognized yet or isn’t tangible, rather than something seen and explicitly recognizable.

Born in Hilo, Hawaii, Chelsea Cater currently lives and works in New York. She received her B.A. from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, and completed the Independent Studio Program at Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Cater has participated in numerous group exhibitions including, do you know anyone who has a kiln?, CPR Gallery & Projects, Brooklyn, New York; Small Works, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; Vicki Vermicelli and Friends, Vicki Projects, Ridgewood, New York (all 2018); Stop and Smell the Roses, The Mothership, Woodstock, New York; The Tragic Instant, Back Gallery, Basilica Hudson, New York (both 2017); Smart Dust, sla307, New York; People Who Work Here, David Zwirner, New York; Show No. 1, 6Month Space, New York; Big Draw, Catalyst Gallery, Beacon, New York; and Feedback System: Romance, Etiquette & The Internet, sla307, New York (all 2016). Cater was recipient of the L.A. Summer Residency at Otis College of Art and Design in 2016 and in 2012 she received the Elizabeth Coonley Faulkner Senior Thesis Prize from Vassar College. CPR, an arts group she formed with two friends and fellow artists Sonia Corina Ruscoe and Elbert Joseph Perez, will organize a collaborative installation at Incident Report in Hudson, New York, on view this March.

CPR workshop & closing reception: Sunday, February 10, 2 – 6 PM

On occasion of CPR’s upcoming collaborative installation at Incident Report, join Chelsea Cater, Elbert Joseph Perez, and Sonia Corina Ruscoe in creating small two-dimensional instructional posters about how to handle an emergency. Poster materials and snacks will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own. For any questions about the workshop, please email

Earlier Event: September 15
Jody Joyner: Silent Feast
Later Event: March 17
Cody Umans: ECLIPSE