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INSPIRATIONS

The hyperreal, disproportionately long legs of the horses found in Cara Van Leuven’s art is founded in the sense of fragility omnipresent within any equestrian relationship. At times, such fragility is figurative, like the symbiotic bond between a horse and rider developed only via countless hours of functioning as one – a precious
connection which can fracture in seconds. Meanwhile, the literal fragility of even the mightiest mare or sturdiest stallion remains a covert-yet-constant consideration – one that, on occasion, can even tragically remind us of the fragility of life itself.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Cara VL has had a lifelong obsession with horses; when they were no longer a part of her life everything became disoriented. ​

 

At the age of nine, Cara began taking riding lessons and eventually found true love competing in the jumper ring. The stable taught Cara discipline and order, something sorely missing in her home life. Her barn rat friends became family and the horses offered a type of peace and kindness she desperately longed for.

 

This magical life with horses seemingly ended when Cara left her hometown of Ft. Wayne IN to study photojournalism at Western Kentucky University. She performed remarkably well with a camera, earning numerous awards including The Alexia as well as interning at newspapers throughout the country. Always a creative, Cara not only relied heavily on photography but breakdancing and graffiti as well to keep her soul full. However, the loss of horses was marked.

 

Always a gypsy at heart, Cara lived and worked in Duluth MN, London UK, Albuquerque NM and St Louis MO. She was growing despondent working corporate jobs but refused to believe it was linked to the absence of horses. She was tethered to psychiatric drugs and hospital stays and excuses. And then the 2008 recession happened, greatly affecting her life — everything was lost — the job, the house, her comfort. 

 

In one of the last unrehabbed lofts in downtown STL Cara rented a loft. It was full of artists who encouraged her to paint. In 2011 Cara created her first painting, a 6'x6' of two horses embracing. The only work she could find was as a carriage driver which reunited her with horses and reignited the passion that had been dormant for far too long. When she smelled her heavy horse sweating during a warm day (horses have a very distinct, sweet smell) there was an almost audible sigh resonating from her soul. She was back on track. 

 

Cara paints only horses in thick, layered oils. Her career as an artist is an homage to the animals who brought her life color and meaning again. The horses are depicted with exceptionally long legs, reflecting their fragility and the fragility of life. The backgrounds are often simple in nature showcasing a laser focus on the subject matter. A variety of techniques and tools are used to achieve hyper textured oil paintings inspired by a true passion for process in both painting and horse training. Glazing, layering, and thinned paint along with the use of brushes, pallet knives, and fingers lend to the canvas’ depth and movement.

 

Today Cara splits her time between St Louis and Ocala FL. 

1977

1996 – 2000

2000

BORN FORT WAYNE, INDIANA (UNITED STATES)

WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY LONDON

2023 — 24

2023

2022

HORSE SHAPED WORLD

(UPCOMING DEC '23 — FEB '24)

ANGAD ARTS HOTEL, ST LOUIS MO

LONG LEGS AND FRAGILITY

OCALA CITY HALL, OCALA FL

HORSES WITH LONG LEGS 

MARION CULTURAL ALLIANCE, OCALA FL

2023

ANIMAL HOUSE, I NEED THAT ART, CLAYTON MO

2022

 

2021

2021

2021, 2020

SIDELINES MAGAZINE

UNTACKED MAGAZINE

MIDWEST EQUESTRIAN

CHRONICLE OF THE HORSE

2022

 

2000

HAMPTON CLASSIC POSTER SELECTION

THE ALEXIA

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

CURRENT

2021 - 2022

2017 - 2018

INART SANTA FE, SANTA FE NM

HORSE POLO ART GALLERY - KATERINA MORGAN, GLOBAL

MARION CULTURAL ALLIANCE, OCALA FL

ROGER'S FRAME AND GALLERY - CARTIGLIANO ARTS, OCALA FL

GRAND OAKS RESORT, WEIRSDALE FL

TRADE-ARAMA ART CENTER, BREVARD NC

MEDIA

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

REPRESENTATION

CV

AWARDS

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