Kaline Carter came back to art through a friend and uses tape, acrylics and vinyl paints. Born in Kingston, New York in 1974, the artist currently lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico and exhibited his work in several solo exhibitions throughout the country.
How did you get into art?
I grew up loving art and ended up at art school later on. I went to Parsons in NYC, but didn’t stay very long and couldn’t really find myself as an artist until much later in life. I stopped painting for about 20 years and eventually started again when an artist named Ann Crouch in Amarillo, TX insisted that I try painting with her. I was working in advertising for Southwest Art Magazine, and Ann was one of my clients. Every time I visited, she asked if I was an artist. And every time I responded with, “No, absolutely not, not me.” Then on one visit, she asked if I would keep her company while she painted. When I got to her studio, she had an extra easel set up with a blank canvas. She suggested that I let her squeeze a few colors of paint onto the canvas and then I could push the paint around with a palette knife or brush. I did just that, and then I did it every time I visited Ann for the next several years. Ann passed away unexpectedly in 2017. I was heartbroken, and I felt that it was my responsibility to continue creating art, or else I would lose it again for another two decades. It felt like Ann was watching me and guiding me. That day, I made it my mission to keep a sketchbook. I also started snapping pictures of things that inspired me if I couldn’t take the time to sketch. Eventually, this led me to start experimenting with different processes. I studied Agnes Martin’s grids; embraced mark-making with Dansaekhwa, a Korean style of painting; fell in love with Frederick Hammersley’s sketchbook. I consider my favorite artists from history to be my teachers and found a style that I am completely comfortable working in using tape, acrylics, acrylic mediums and vinyl paints.
How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?
What makes your work special? My work is hard edge, geometric, abstract painting. I like making very clean lines across all of my work in very organized compositions. I try to engage ultra matte paints along with iridescent paints to play with light and zero in on big, clean shapes.
How do you go about developing your work?
I like spotting a very specific view or partial view of something in the world and paring it down to its very basic shapes, colors and lines. Most often, I do this first in my sketchbook with a basic pencil. Then I begin coloring in with pencils or markers to try to different color combinations or layers of color. Once I am comfortable that a composition in my sketchbook works, a lot of times I move onto painting with acrylic on paper. This narrows down my compositions and color palettes. My final step is to move onto panel if I feel it makes a good painting.
Who or what influences you?
My latest series is inspired and derived from fashion. Although my process remains largely the same and utilizes hard edges, matte vinyl paints paired with acrylics, and big shapes & fields of color, I have challenged myself to add more layers to my process. In this new series, you will see more metallic & iridescent paints and sometimes more intricate pattern- all ways of playing with light. I have also challenged myself to add more curves and organic shapes into my work. A little more than a year ago, I began researching fashion and collecting materials like fashion magazines and books. I have always been a big fan of Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent and most of all, Alexander McQueen. When I started sketching and looking for interesting shapes and lines, I probably should not have been so surprised that most of my compositions were found by looking at clothing from these three designers. Knowing that I have always loved their designs, I suppose I never contemplated why until now. Their ability to translate fabric into clean, simple shapes that are instantly recognizable and iconic at the same time is what attracted me to their aesthetics. Ellsworth Kelly is definitely one of my idols. I discovered Kelly while studying Agnes Martin’s work and life. The two were neighbors for many years on Coenties Slip in Manhattan. His influence can probably be felt throughout all of my work, but this latest series really seems to embrace Kelly’s style. More recently, I have discovered Carmen Herrera’s work. I am intrigued by her long career and her obsession with shapes, clean lines and minimal compositions. When Herrera died recently, at the age of 106, I again took some more time to explore her work and process. Herrera often used tape and she was certainly not afraid of bold color choices. While pondering my new fashion series, I kept thinking that I wanted to paint using big shapes and bold colors like found in Herrera’s work and Kelly’s work.
Make us curious. What is planned next?
I am currently working on some more intricate plaid paintings to add to my abstracted fashion series. I am using textiles as my inspiration and challenging myself to go further with detail and smaller, thinner lines throughout my work. I also am attempting to create some larger paintings, some with multiple patterns as part of the composition.