Mixed media fiber artist Andrée B. Carter shares a remarkable collection of abstracts inspired by changing landscapes. Enjoy more of her portfolio on her website.
I was a late bloomer to art and did not know what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” I had a successful marriage, two beautiful boys and a life filled with material pleasures. All of that was great, but I was looking for something that I could call my own, something to fulfill my inner life.
When I finally got up the courage, I went to an art class. The instructor said I had a great sense of color and design. That first class and a surprise trip to Italy to study Renaissance art changed the course of my life.
To take myself more seriously, I enrolled in college to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. During my undergraduate studies, the rug was pulled from under me. My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died within three months. Despite this devastating loss, I knew I had to continue my studies. I graduated with honors from Loyola University, New Orleans. Then I continued to graduate school and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans.
This was the first half of my life. At the age of 51, I finally left New Orleans. My sons were already living out West, so I decided to move. After 16 years in Seattle, 8 years in Los Angeles and now a year living in Palm Desert, I realized how the changes of topography have influenced my colors and textures.
The tropical mood of New Orleans, the verdant landscapes of Seattle, the urban layers of Los Angeles, and the natural beauty of the desert have all have seeped into my colors and textures.
This is evident in the way I treat the surfaces of my work. My process combines two key elements—creating my own colors with powdered pigments, plus my signature use of handmade needlepoint. Various textiles such as lace, faux crocodile, velvet, cording, doilies and thread are now integral to my paintings and sculpture.
I cut holes into the canvas, place the needlepoint behind the opening, and then suture them onto the surface with various cords. Through my process, I create a history embedded into the paintings and add depth to the physicality of the work.
I feel as if I am instrumental in a healing, unifying process, not only for myself, but also for those who experience the work.
I struggled with defining myself as a professional artist, but through tragedy and loss, I found myself expressing strong emotions and ideas in a unique way through creating my own palette and needlepoint.
In addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions, I have been honored with painting fellowships from The Bau Institute held in Otranto, Italy; the Virginia Center for Creative Arts; and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. I am also a Kipapai Fellow. Some of my awards include the Artistic Selection Award from the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles; the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; and a Jurors award from the Artist Council Exhibition, Palm Desert, CA.