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 Abilene TX, and Fredericksburg VA, 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, Darbytown Art Studios, 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 dreams*.

* 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:

Through my artwork, I bring the unseeable into form. While I make few attempts to portray actual people, places, or events, I do want my works to look like they could be blueprints for my emotional and energetic experiences of them.

I view each work of art as existing in and around me, in an energetic state to which I must make myself present to give it formative expression. Sometimes the state needing to express is sad or enraged, sometimes hopeful or reverent, and other times it simply wants to play!

My art gives form to the tenderness and vulnerability of this authentic, and sometimes buried, emotion. It is an intuitive dialogue driven by process. Through it, I (do my best to) suspend my need to be in complete control of the final product. I begin with what is in front of me, I bring awareness—to my breath, emotions, and physical sensations in the context of my direct experiences—and I respond with marks, smudges, layers, rips, drips, gouges and scrapes. I plan very little and work spontaneously. I sometimes work with my eyes closed, ambidextrously, in a sort of self-actualized ritual.

Each of my works is an invitation to the viewer to be present and aware of their own breath and emotional landscape; to soften and move into a space of sensory reflection; to close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and become present to their experience of the moment.

Most materials for which I have a preference travel well (as I delight in a good change of venue) and can be utilized anywhere: paper, charcoal, cardboard, soft pastels, oil pastels, ink, pencil, marker, watercolors, textiles, wire, rust and found objects. My work is less about specificity of material, and more about the process of combining materials at hand into a cohesive expression.

My encaustic works are richer repositories of energetic transmogrification. Encaustic work takes a bit more planning and preparation in a studio setting, yet the material is compatible with all the others. I value it for its depth, translucency, malleability, nuance, and sculptural qualities. Encaustic’s immediacy of outcome allows me to express layers of energy with a unique sensuality. The element of fire required to work in encaustic is fitting. In the zodiac, fire represents energy itself and the transformation of one thing into another.

As a (former) interior designer, I like beautiful things, and I aspire to create beautiful art. As a human being and an artist, I aspire to create with honesty of expression. I believe an inherent beauty comes from honesty. I do not believe the opposite is necessarily true.

Cara Hines
artist in process