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Spring/Summer 2014 Competition:


3rd Place Winner

Medium:  Oil on canvas
Size:       30 x 30 in                         
Price:      NFS

artist statement

My paintings react to the absurd and existential aspects of the human condition. I observe the unshakable loneliness and isolation of human existence and examine human instinct by focusing on the unique relationships my subjects share with the animal within. These investigations help me document the results of human interactions, internal struggles and the powerful influence we have on our social landscape. It is my belief that we choose to fight, ignore, give in to, or become one with, the animal within. My subjects are often isolated in composition and aggressively rendered to confront the viewer with an interpretation unique to the beholder’s own secluded life experience. I question how we relate to and form systems of belief, which ultimately fabricate our illusions of self. Philosopher Martin Heidegger described human existence as a process of perpetually falling. He notes that it is the responsibility of each individual to catch themselves from their own uncertainty. I relate this unsettling prognosis to our life-long struggle with our animal within. Studying human instinct, I describe existence as a process of taming our metaphysical bite, augmenting Heidegger’s idea of the perpetual fall with the equally unsettling motif of the caged animal. In the painting series, described below, I paint my subjects in motionless compositions suggesting the ubiquity of our incarcerated emptiness. I believe it is the eternal cages we are born within that set the boundaries of our condition and create the illusion of freedom.


NIGHT FISHING is what I caught visually while working from my 7-year-old son’s elaborate narrations of his recurring hand-finned, omniscient and hungry nightmare fish monster. On this mother-son fishing quest, he described and I painted trying to uncover and bring to light his nightmare monster. Seeking out details in the patterns and cycles of empirical and theoretical life experiences, my imagery often becomes ominous reminders of our own vulnerability.

It is my belief that we choose to fight, ignore, give in to, or become one with, the animal within. Like a caged animal or a starving newborn, sometimes we bite to feel human, to nurture ourselves, to protect, or in an uncontrollable craze. The “jocular macabre” within all my work reveals these primal qualities of the human condition and the absurd, precarious relationship formed with our animal instinct.

They Bite Because They Are Alive  Like a caged animal or a starving newborn, sometimes we bite to feel human, to nurture ourselves, to protect, or in an uncontrollable craze. As a painter, my bite is released in my aggressive and textural marks. As a mother and observer, I often paint witnessed moments and react to interpretative narratives of my children. There is no better subject than the child, as his or her animal and cage are in primal maturity, transparent yet intrinsically developing. I became one with my animal within while painting my children and relatives in these states of primal transparency. My series They Bite Because They Are Alive speaks to these observations. These paintings seek out details in the patterns and cycles of empirical and theoretical life experiences. The images are ominous reminders of our own vulnerability.

AWOACA (A Woman Of A Certain Age), is my most recent painting series. This series takes me outside my own domesticated habitat of observation. My subjects are women over the age of 65. They sit for me nude while I listen and record their life experiences and stories. I use color and texture to compose them with slight elongations or deformities that relate to their tone and narrative. Once complete, I plan to exhibit the paintings with these recorded voices overlapping as an audio installation. Perhaps my own fear, uncertainty and/or expectations of inevitably aging in America’s pitifully image-obsessed culture lead me in this direction. Though confirming my theories within the framework of the human condition, the animal within, and the cages we inhabit, this series has already posed new questions relating to age, time and gender issues, forcing me to question my own intentions. These women claim that their animal ceases to claw at their every thought. Does time release us from our cages? Could life experience be the ultimate animal tamer or do we just become masters of disguise? Why doesn’t the richness of the female experience, age and time beautify America’s media-derived sense of “ugly”? These paintings now aim to capture the unappreciated beauty in what society has deemed “ugly.”

artist bio

Carrie Alter was born in Miami, Florida and educated in various schools around the country.  Currently residing in North Carolina, she balances the challenges of motherhood with her career as working artist and teacher.

2014 Skylight Gallery Manhattan, curated by Vida Sabbaghi, Manhattan, NY (September-October)
2014 Limner Gallery, Strange Figurations, Hudson, NY (September 11- October 4th)
2014 57th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Juror: Jerry Saltz, Chautauqua, NY
2014 Welborn Gallery: Eye of the Artist..., Yadkinville, NC
2014 Artspace new member show, Raleigh, NC
2014 The Rymer Gallery: Figuratively Speaking, Nashville, TN
2014 Orange County Center for Contemporary Art - OCCCA: Body Language, Santa Ana, CA www.occca.org/GALLERY-INFO.html
2014 Fine Arts League of Cary: 19th Annual Art Exhibition, Cary, NC
2014 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, Rochester, NY
2014 Peoria Art Guild: 2014 Nude Attitude, internationally juried event, Peoria, IL
2014 Verum Ultimum Gallery, Portland, OR
2014 Las Laguna Art Gallery: Impressions, Laguna Beach, CA
2014 The Creative Spirit, Rotunda Galley, Meredith College Raleigh, NC
2013 Au Naturel 2013: The Nude in the 21st Century, International art exhibition Astoria, OR
2013 Raleigh Fine Arts Society, Progress Energy Center for the performing Arts, Raleigh, NC
2013 Carrboro ArtsCenter Faculty Show, Carrboro, NC
2012 After Dark, National Juried Exhibition, Greg Moon Gallery, Taos, NM
2012 Art Anonymous, Art Council of Moore County, Southern Pines, NC
2012 Carrboro ArtsCenter Faculty Show, Carrboro, NC
2011 2D National Figurative Exhibition, LH Horton Jr. Gallery, Stockton, CA
2011 REAL PEOPLE, National Juried Exhibition, Woodstock, IL
2010 Carrboro ArtsCenter Faculty Show, Carrboro, NC
2009 Carrboro ArtsCenter Faculty Show, Carrboro, NC
2006 Zombie Art Show, Chapel Hill Comics, Chapel Hill, NC
2003 Figurative Works, Bronwyn Merritt Gallery, Carrboro, NC
2002 Elon University Faculty Show, Elon, NC
2002 Mira Mar Gallery, Turning Point Seven, Sarasota, FL
2001 Lump Gallery, The Young Ones, Raleigh, NC
2000 Ackland Art Museum, New Currents in Contemporary Art, Chapel Hill, NC
1999 Allcott Gallery, Pink and Grey, Chapel Hill, NC
1999 Selby Gallery, Annual Best of Ringling Student Exhibitions, Sarasota, FL
1998 Ringling School of Art and Design Campus Installation, Voices, Sarasota, FL
1998 Sarasota Arts Council at Holley Hall, Sarasota, FL
1998 Asolo Theatre mixed media show/performance, Sarasota, FL
1998 Fine Arts Thesis show, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL
1996 Lee Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, Tampa, FL

2014 Pop-Up Show at Golden Belt, Durham, NC
2010 East End Gallery, Carrboro, NC
2004 Luna Lounge Gallery, New York, NY
2002 Crossley Gallery, Sarasota, FL
1999 John and June Allcott Gallery, Portraits of Family, Chapel Hill, NC
1998 The Gallery at 508, Sarasota, FL

2015 Lump Gallery, Raleigh, NC: George Jenne and Carrie Alter
2016 Curated Exhibition: Minan Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2002 Alumni Visiting Artist in Residence, Ringling School of Art and Design - Sarasota, FL
2002 UNC Graduate Liaison, UNC Chapel Hill: awarded travel grant – Chapel Hill, NC
2001 City of Carrboro, NC Sculpture installation in Century Center Garden - Carrboro, NC
1999 Hanes Alumni Sculpture Grant recipient - UNC-Chapel Hill, NC
1998 Ringling Senior Installation Audio Grant recipient, Ringling School of Art and Design - Sarasota, FL
1998 Asolo Theatre Performance Grant - Sarasota, FL
1994 Who’s Who Award - Brevard College, NC: for securing $6.8 million donation to support the art and music programs, while serving on the Presidential Fundraising Committee.

Holt Collection, Greensboro, NC
Felicia Michaels, Beverly Hills, CA
Dr. Thomas McGuire, FL
Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL
Century Center, Carrboro, NC
Carrboro Arts Center, Carrboro, NC

2010-present Visiting Lecturer Art Department: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC
2013-present Adjunct Professor: Meredith College Art Department - Raleigh, NC
2012-present Governor’s School NC: Area II – (Philosophy) SUMMER JOB - Raleigh, NC
2008-present Drawing Instructor: Carrboro Arts Center - Carrboro, NC
2003 Adjunct Professor (painting): University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC
2000 Adjunct Professor (drawing): UNC Friday Center for continuing education - Chapel Hill, NC
2000-2003 Adjunct Professor of Art: Elon University - Elon, NC
2000 Adjunct Professor (drawing): Durham Technical Community College - Durham, NC

UNC-Chapel Hill. 2000 Master of Fine Arts: MFA
Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL. 1998 Bachelor of Fine Arts: BFA
Skidmore College, Saratoga, NY
University of Tampa, Tampa, FL. 1996 Bachelor of Art History: BA
Brevard College, Brevard, NC. 1994 Associate Degree: AFA

Carrie Alter

carrie alter
Chapel Hill, California [USA]

art scene today Q & A

Q: Where do you see yourself in the art scene today?
A: I believe the art scene ‘sees’ the artist, not the other way around. I’m just doing my thing.
Q: What is in your inspiration?
A: I believe the art scene ‘sees’ the artist, not the other way around. I’m just doing my thing.
Q: What are your challenges?
A: The mother in me frequently battles the artist in me, which has become a personal labor. Studio time usually comes after one of the many nights of internal conflict: I should have kissed them good night, read them another book, relaxed with them, been more patient, hugged them after school, answered their questions differently, paid more attention to them…I leave my studio only to find them already involved with their dream life.  I stand in the doorway like a deer in headlights and yet an involuntary smile helps disguise and comfort my maternal regret--there is nothing like a sleeping child.  I avoid collision.  I’ll be an artist tonight and a mother tomorrow.

Q: How did you/do you choose your medium?
A:  My first artistic medium was found in music. I met Katarina Kitridge, when I was 5 years old. She was 26. As my greatest mentor, she taught me to sing, play piano and to visualize music. Music was my life. She also wrote her own music. When I was 12 she had the opportunity to travel to Germany and never returned. Her body was found but her murder remains unsolved. This was my introduction to “the dark side” of human nature. Vitality once created with musical expression lost its composition. My outlet became the written word and I endlessly filled journals as I do now, sketchbooks. Writing lent itself to graffiti, graffiti to drawing and drawing to painting, painting lead to art school... I found a visual language/voice and realized that there is more than one way to sing. I have been painting ever since.

Q: Which artist has influenced you the most?
A:  Perhaps Lucian Freud or Philip Guston or Jenny Saville or John Currin, Francis Bacon, Leslie Lerner, Egon Schiele, Alice Neel, Elizabeth Peyton, Otto Dix, love some Matthew Barney, Paul McCarthy…geez I could go on and on and on listing visual influences but tend to be equally influenced by philosophers. Currently working through some Ludwig Wittgenstein.

 other work by the artist




OFF THE GRID Exhibition