Sara Carter is a Houston-born abstract painter based in Austin, Texas. Carter studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early 1990s, receiving her BFA degree in 1994, and remained in the Bay Area until 2017, when she returned to Texas. Her acrylic paintings on canvas stretched over panel are diverse, falling into clearly defined separate but related bodies of work. The paintings from 1994 to 2011 are atmospheric and poetic; through the labor-intensive application of as many as thirty layers of translucent washes, interspersed with layers of acrylic varnish, Carter creates repositories for reverie and remembrance. In 2012, the artist began working more improvisationally and gesturally, creating pictorial space through the overlapping of brushstrokes of varying texture, speed and orientation, rather than the earlier glazing. Where the earlier work was a recreation of the past, the later work becomes an exploration of process and impulse, encapsulating the energy of the moment.
Carter sees the works as embodiments of her psychic state, emitting a ‘frequency’ that induces an energy vibration in sympathetic, attuned viewers. Her lyrical works, varying in tone from the earlier quiet reverie to the later exuberant improvisation, have garnered praise among critics and collectors. The San Francisco Chronicle art critic, Kenneth Baker, noted “the thrilling grace and ease” with which Carter “balances allusion and illusion,” noting similarities to two very different artists: the abstract painter Ed Moses and the figurative painter Edward Hopper. Quinn Latimer saw her “standout” works at the 2009 Scope Art Fair as “geometric grids creat[ing] a sense of peering through the curtains … with one’s eyes half closed.”
Carter’s paintings have been exhibited at Edward Cella Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, CA; di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, CA; Octavia Art Gallery, Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA; Graystone Gallery, San Francisco, CA; the Monterey Museum of Art La Miranda, Monterey, CA; Aureus Contemporary, USA; Octavia Gallery, Bath, United Kingdom; and at numerous art fairs, including Scope International Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland, and Art Southampton, Southampton, NY. They have been acquired by di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art; Black Stone Minerals Company, Houston, TX; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Commack Expansion, Commack, NY; and many other public and private collections.