artist biography:

Cara Hines is an expressive abstract artist best known for her extemporaneous work in encaustic, mixed media, and assemblage, as well as her penchant for working with eyes closed. In her previous life, she was an interior designer able to deftly mix Knoll and Cassina with Salvation Army and rusted metal objects in a sophisticated layering of materials, color, and texture. She has also been known to capture photographic images and write articles, stories, and poems, some of which make their way into her art.

Her work often exhibits an ethereal looseness, yet there is an intuitive structure to it. Hers is a process-driven dialogue that gives form to the tenderness and vulnerability of authentic—and sometimes buried—energy born of human emotion.

Cara started life as a precocious, barefoot artist in the small West Texas town of Childress, the daughter of a farmer/rancher and a teacher. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Interior Design and Minor in Architecture, and worked in the profession for more than 15 years. Her shift from designer to artist was born out of a need to be less exacting and more spontaneous, as well as the sudden death of her brother in 2010. This lesson in impermanence gave rise to her need to express the full depth and breadth of her internal experience in the moment, and that expression became art.

In 2015, Cara’s first solo show entitled OOPS!, featuring art made as a metaphor for living life by embracing the beauty of imperfection. The exhibit included an interactive component, inviting the viewer to engage in her closed-eye sensory process. In 2016, she collaborated with Teysha Vinson on Processing, a photographic exhibit that was backdrop to community storytelling events Ms. Hines hosted in the gallery. Both exhibits were installed at The Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene, TX. She has participated in multiple group exhibits in the Abilene area, and her work hangs in homes and interior projects across the US. Her work can be seen at The Center for Contemporary Arts and Calypso Gallery in Abilene, and Darbytown Art Gallery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Ms. Hines has taught art classes through the ArtReach programs of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene to at-risk youth, summer campers, and youth refugee populations. She held the position of Gallery Manager/Marketing Director at the Center 2016-17. In early 2017, multiple family illnesses and tragedies took her focus away from making or promoting art, and have filled her with fuel for creating. She is back in the studio in 2018, and is actively seeking new galleries and exhibit opportunities.

Cara currently splits her time between Texas and Virginia with her partner, Ernest, and their frisbee-addicted Australian Shepherd, Ginger. She works from various studios located in her home, the Center for Contemporary Arts (Abilene TX), Darbytown Art Studios (Fredericksburg VA), and occasionally her 1966 Shasta travel trailer...because life is too unpredictable not to change venues regularly, leave comfort zones, explore, connect with friends and strangers, delight in imperfections, and follow heart*.

* NOTE:  For better or worse, Cara generally finds it difficult to follow anything...rules, crowds, routines, formulas, dogmas, recipes, well-worn paths, plans, trends, the news, interstates, politicians, circular reasoning, or schedules. Her intuition and her heart are the exceptions.

artist statement:

Life is a way of art for me. Art-making underlies all that I do, and all that I do informs my art. I am an evolving, playful amalgam of artist, designer, wordsmith, curator, innovator, mentor, student, connector of people, alchemist, explorer, and mischief-maker. As an artist, I am an abstractionist working in encaustic, mixed media, and assemblage.

I make art as part of my meditation and awareness practice. I paint with breath. I express spontaneous vibrational and emotional impulses through layers of line, shape, form, and color. The finished product is not the “why” of what I do. The point at which I stop working on a piece is the form in which it is ready to engage with the viewer. “Finished” is an ambiguous concept for me as I view everything as existing in perpetual incompletion, imperfection, and impermanence.

To view my art is to entertain these qualities in oneself. It is an invitation to become aware of one’s own vibrational state—which is to have an aware response—and to be in reflection. By reflection, I mean seeing oneself “as is” in the art, and “seeing” the art in oneself. This is an act of vulnerability, which makes some people uncomfortable. Yet, in a society where most of us are running unaware from one thing to another, never really seeing each other or being seen, it can be an act of great self-compassion and vitalization.

I am drawn to materials with raw and natural qualities and those that suggest their previous lives, such as aged and handmade paper, charcoal, cardboard, reclaimed doors and lumber, textiles, wire, rust, discarded house paint, as well as nature- and man-made found objects. I incorporate graphite, soft pastels, oil pastels, inks, markers, watercolors, acrylics, oil paints, and spray paint. My work is more about responding to what is, and less about specificity of material. I travel and change venues a great deal, and I delight in the process of combining materials at hand into a cohesive expression of contextual energies and impulses. In other words, I can make art almost anywhere from almost anything.

Most recently, I have begun working with encaustic, which takes more planning and preparation in a studio setting, yet the material is compatible with most of the others I use. I value it for its depth, luminosity, malleability, nuance, and sculptural qualities. Encaustic’s translucency and immediacy of outcome allow me to express in layers of energy with a unique sensuality and spontaneity.

To view my art is to reflect with it and to engage with my process. To own a piece of my art is to connect with it and integrate it into your life. These are points of relating and dialogue between us, and I thank you, the viewer, for showing up.

— Cara Hines