— Eva Carter's abstract paintings at first appear to be refracted views of places. “Refresh” could be a lush green meadow, jumbled in the reflection of a pond. Perhaps the rusty red “Santa Fe” is an adobe structure blurred in the rippling heat of the New Mexico summer. Though the artist does draw inspiration from her surroundings when she mixes her oils, her new show “Time-Lapse”, running from July 2 to July 16 at Pippin Contemporary, is a chronicle of a more internal journey.
“As I look at this body of work, I realize that it was done over a number of years,” says the Charleston, SC artist. “It is a reflection of the passing of time in my life, and how that has affected the creative process.”
Carter grew up in rural Tennessee, where her creative inclinations were neither nurtured nor discouraged. “My parents didn't know one thing about art, but I was forever making things,” she says. “It was the only thing I was good at, I was not a good student otherwise.” The sole art class at Carter's high school was taught by the algebra teacher, which was “about as bad as it could get,” the artist says with a laugh.
Despite the drawbacks, Carter loved having free reign over her artistic path. “They just left me alone, which was absolutely wonderful,” she says. She took her first trip to New Mexico as a 17-year-old in 1958, and found that the wild, artistic spirit of the Southwest suited her.
Carter studied fine art at East Tennessee State University, and though she was drawn to Abstract Expressionism she focused on realism in her early career. She would travel to New Mexico in the summers to paint, and forged many strong connections with artists in the region. In 1986, she finally decided to do what she loved most.
“Switching to abstraction was like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. I was making a living on my realistic work,” she says. “You're a risk taker anytime you choose this avenue, though.”
Carter lives on a Lowcountry island not far from Charleston, SC, where she owned and ran the only abstract gallery in town for a number of years. Now she devotes all of her time to painting in her studio, which looks over the water.
“The initial strokes on the canvas are the beginning of a journey,” says the artist, who follows the philosophies of action painting as she works her way across large canvases. “It's about the challenge of putting a big blank thing up there and jumping off the cliff. It's, 'Can I survive this? Am I going to be able to do this?'”
On good days, that initial nervousness dissipates and the paint tells Carter what to do. “Then you finish, and you're looking at something no other human being in this world has ever seen before,” she says. As Carter has found while she prepares for “Time-Lapse”, she subconsciously tells little pieces of her story when she paints, from her journeys through the Southwest to her meditations on the shifting tide outside her window.
Eva Carter's “Time-Lapse” runs from July 2 to July 16, with an opening reception on Friday, July 5 from 5-7 pm. Pippin Contemporary is located at 200 Canyon Road in Santa Fe, NM.
Release ID: 15449