Dane Carder


Dane Carder from Dave Ogle on Vimeo.

Dane Carder was born (1972), raised, and still lives in Nashville, in the deep end of the pool of our nation’s history. After several attempts at attaining an art degree, he opted for a long course of self-taught study in a studio at Chestnut Square. For nearly twenty years, he has been steadfast in his pursuit to create meaningful Work. Dane has exhibited in a variety of art spaces and galleries, and for five years he has curated other artists’ shows at threesquared, a gallery within his studio. For the last seven years, he has utilized Civil War images in a universal, symbolic expression of life’s ironic combination of tragedy and beauty, of despair and hope.


Proof of Ghosts

My father died when I was sixteen, and twenty-four years later, I am still haunted. And so it is, I believe, with the South since the Civil War. When the wind blows right, I make the trek to the baseball fields in west Nashville where my dad coached hundreds of games. Specifically, I take a moment beside the third base coach’s box, as if it were the site of an historic battlefield. About three times a year, I drive very slowly, sometimes stopping, by the house that was my family’s home for three decades; I glimpse visions here. In remembrance, I go to a particular restaurant on the edge of town to order the country ham breakfast that my father so passionately loved. In a desperate hope to hold on to what we have lost, we create fantastic and symbolic rituals. In loss, we seek a connection, and we sink our teeth and heart in deep to taste as much of that flavored past as possible. The reenactment of Civil War battles is one of the most passionate and visceral displays of this desire to connect and the fight to not forget.


Ghosts and Hopes - original statement 2007

This body of work is not simply about the Civil War. It is about an emotion: the layered, all-encompassing emotion that accompanies a life lived. It is about being passionate enough to fight, compassionate enough to grieve, honest enough to be open. It is about ghosts and hopes.

I began these paintings because I was in awe of the imagery. Instantly, I knew that there was a Higher cause for my foray into this subject matter. When I was sixteen years old, my father passed away, and since then I have felt an unflinching familiarity with the Spiritual. Ghosts and hopes have been the raw material that I have worked with in art for over fifteen years. It was in rediscovering Civil War imagery that my creative voice found volume and a proper vehicle to express the depths of this Spiritual life.

Living in a time of war, and creating art as a necessity leads me to make such paintings. With the use of old images, I am subtly seeking to connect the war of yore to those that are fought today. I believe that all war is civil war, brothers fighting brothers. When we kill, we kill our Spiritual kin. It is grey, dreary, somber: a chasing after the wind on an overcast day. And there is a sadness that stews in these times of war, a deep empathy. If I do not personally deal with this, I will be more likely to strike out, to war, against someone else. So, I choose to paint.

In painting some of these images out of focus, I am hoping to blur the line between “us” and “them.” It is the “us/them” mentality that ignites war. The idea that we are separate from each other is about ego and fear; this art is not about that.

There is an intimate connection to humanity born when one honestly deals with death. This series of paintings is part of my process, my war against war. This is my way to dispel ghosts. This is how I hope.