Cara Cole

b. Toronto, Canada


The practice of Tao consists in subtracting day by day, subtracting and yet again subtracting
till one has reached inactivity. But by this very inactivity everything can be activated. 


--Tao Te Ching, translated by Arthur Waley

Imagine that you are required to write a Rape Narrative. You write on anxiety medication. You promise yourself that you will not stop, that you will not allow yourself to die before you have reached the end. Your mother feeds you because you have stopped eating. You are never hungry, but she leaves a sandwich on the bed beside you and orders you to eat. So you eat and cry while you write your Rape Narrative, the opposite of an illuminated manuscript. You give it to your mother to read one night, but you feel so sick inside that you take it back and bury it at the bottom of the rape box because you are scared to look at it. Every time you read it, you’re demoralized. It’s not just what he did, but that he was able to do it for so long. The Rape Narrative spans six years, and the losses keep piling up. It makes you sick and sad and filled with rage that it went on for so long. But that’s not on you. That’s on him.


You are no longer able to create anything new. When an idea finally comes to you, you wince and feel sick because you know it’s the only thing you can do and you don’t want to do it. If you can’t create, then you have to subtract, take the already existing radioactive material in the Rape Narrative and transform it. Redaction is a violent act. It was wielded against you and others, against every woman who comes forward. 


You wince again and bear down, look directly at what you don’t want to look at. You read and redact the document over and over with your jaw clenched until it aches. In doing this some of the power it has over you is diminished and some of the power he has over you is diminished as well. But as you print these pages on a large scale and imagine putting them up in a public space for anyone to see, knowing anyone can walk into that gallery space, you get really scared. 


It’s terrifying to try to exist in the world again, because not only is the man who raped you determined to punish you, so are many powerful people who support that man. These people you once admired now frighten and disgust you. “The truth will come out,” they say, and “women lie.” They are determined to be right no matter the cost.


When you tell your mother what you fear, she says, in typical fashion, “Don’t worry about it.” Your friends say, “Remember who it’s for. It’s for you and others like you.” 


You are able to create. You are visible in the world. 

---Illuminated Manuscript

I am interested in the impact of time on both earthbound and celestial bodies. Time devastates flesh and rapidly consumes it. So we humans and beasts have a finite arc of time––a brief interval between birth and death––in contrast to the relative eternity of the cosmos. In performing dissections on dead beasts for this series, in peering intently at their viscera, I am struck by the grace and mystery inherent in the folds of brilliantly hued flesh, and fur and bone. This internal landscape is one of fearsome poetry. It echoes the immense and distant universe. A luminous arc of fur in darkness resembles a solar flare. Folds of flesh glow and stream like remote star fields. I must admit I do not observe this phenomena neutrally. I wish I could do more then simply dissect and expose the interior space, that secret rich place where memory and desire––a life––dwelled. I examine these interiors and wish I could perform my own miracles upon the flesh. I wish I could reverse the tide of time and bring the dead back to life, to make blood rush into the body instead of out, to inflate collapsed lungs with fresh breath, to seal gaping wounds neat and invisible like they were never there at all.  


---The Sky Above, the Mud Below (excerpt)

I love the fact that sexual and religious transportment echo each other. How Ecstasy, that elevated sensation of bliss, is simultaneously carnal and spiritual. Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa (her head is thrown back, face upturned towards the heavens, lips parted, eyes softly closed–so similar to my own carnal angels) is based on the swooning nuns own writing: “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold…He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.”


--- An Immortality of Bliss (excerpt)


In Gods and Heroes I appropriate from a wide variety of scientific textbooks. I cannibalize and collage this existing imagery to create stark visual poetry out of unlikely combinations of scientific “specimens”. The resulting narratives are unsettlingly intimate. Children, naked and isolated on fields of black, move toward or shiver away from aggressive natural elements. The children are frozen in dances of fear and fascination. These dramas unfold on a heroic scale.

This body of work evolved out of the mingling of two streams of thought. First is the recollection of greek myths which explained the workings of the universe, particularly tales in which Gods preyed on mortals, seducing or attacking humans in the guise of natural elements: a swan, a heavy mist, a shower of gold. The second is the inspiration of modern scientific texts, in which every conceivable aspect of the universe––from the most minute biological entity to the most colossal cosmological event––is meticulously, obsessively and tirelessly documented. Both creative endeavors (the mythological and the scientific) are driven by a most passionate human desire, to unlock the mysteries of creation and destruction, growth and decay, life and death. So we may no longer be forced to surrender to elemental forces beyond our control. So we may have ultimate control over our own destinies.


--- Gods and Heroes (excerpt)


MFA Fine Art/Photography, Honors, University of Nevada Las Vegas, NV, 2002

AOCA Photography, Honors, Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Ontario, 1996



Illuminated Manuscript, High Noon Gallery, New York, NY


New WorkMaumau Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey



New WorkCAN: In Gallery, Bucharest, Romania
New WorkArteles Live Review, Haukijärvi, Finland


An Immortality of Bliss, Becker Galleries, Vancouver, B.C.


An Immortality of Bliss, Arin Contemporary Art, Laguna Beach, CA



Life In Slow Motion, University of Wisconsin Gallery, Madison, WI
Brutal InstinctsDust Contemporary Fine Art, Las Vegas, NV



Life In Slow MotionPeppers Fine Art Gallery, Redlands, CA



Cara Cole & Kyung Jeon (two person exhibition), Dust Contemporary Fine Art, Las Vegas, NV



The Sky Above, The Mud BelowChidlaw Gallery, Cincinnati, OH



The Sky Above, The Mud BelowWinchester Center Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
The Sky Above, The Mud BelowDonna Beam Fine Art Gallery, Las Vegas, NV



No More TearsGrant Hall Gallery, Las Vegas, NV



Swarms of Secrets; Flocks of Lies, Curator: Susan Rochester, OR



New Work, M8 Gallery, Brasov, Romania
Zine Project, Ayatana Air, Curated by Alexis Smith, Ottawa, Canada
Cake, George Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA


Splash 2013, Arts Umbrella, Vancouver, B.C.



February Group Show, S Cube Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
Splash 2012, Arts Umbrella, Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver, B.C.


On the Edge: Statements in Black & White (catalogue), S Cube Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
Splash 2011, Arts Umbrella, Vancouver, B.C.
Artifact: Contact 2011, Alison Milne Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada



Group Exhibition, Becker Galleries, Vancouver, B.C.



Opening Exhibition, Becker Galleries, Vancouver, B.C.



Nevada Now II, Humboldt Gallery, Curated by Diane Deming for the Nevada Museum of Art, Winnemucca, NV



Nevada Now II, OSX Gallery, Carson City, NV
Nevada Now II, Great Basin College Gallery, Elko, NV



Best of Show, Gallery 1401, Philadelphia, PA
The Usual Suspects, Peppers Fine Art Gallery, Redlands, CA
Gallery Artists; New Work, Dust Contemporary Fine Art, Las Vegas, NV
Nevada Now II, Tahoe Gallery, Incline Village, NV
Nevada Now II, Reed Whipple Cultural Center Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
Nevada Now II, WNCC Bristlecone Gallery, Carson City, NV
Minumentals, Chidlaw Gallery, Cincinnati, OH



Faculty Exhibition, Peppers Fine Art Gallery, Redlands, CA



Banner Project, Las Vegas Government Center, Las Vegas, NV



Young Photographers, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA
Las Vegas City Hall, Bridge Gallery, Curator: Nancy Sloan, Las Vegas, NV
NEW, Chidlaw Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
Collecting Dust, Dust Contemporary Fine Art, Las Vegas, NV
City Banner Project (catalogue), Aerial Gallery, Las Vegas, NV



Women Artists of UNLV, Jessie Metcalf Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
Visual to Political, J. Wayne Reitz Arts & Crafts Center, Gainesville, FL
South 461 Revisited, Tahoe Gallery, Sierra Nevada College, Reno, NV
Adjunct Faculty Exhibition: UNLV Department of Art, Jessie Metcalf Gallery, Las Vegas, NV

I.P.I. Fellows Exhibition, Neiman Center, Columbia University, New York, NY
Grand Opening Exhibition, Liberace Museum Center, Las Vegas, NV
Ei8ht, Marjorie Barrick Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Intersection, Reed Wipple Cultural Center, Las Vegas, NV
Manipulate (catalogue), Jessie Metcalf Gallery, Las Vegas, NV



NYU Photo Center, New York University/Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY
First Ladies Conference on Women’s Health Issues, Nevada Health Education Center

Divergent Views, Jessie Metcalf Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
Contemporary Arts Collective, Arts Factory, Las Vegas, NV


Different Looks Five; Women Artists of UNLV, Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, Las Vegas, NV


Maumau Artist/Writer in Residence, Istanbul, Turkey, 2015

Sidi Ali Artist/Writer in Residence, Sefrou, Morocco, 2015

The CAN:In Artist/Writer in Residence, Bucharest, Romania, 2014
Arteles Artist/Writer in Residence, Haukijärvi, Finland, 2014
Ayatana AIR Currents Artist Residency, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2014

Banff Centre Writing Studio Residency, April 29, 2013-June 1 2013, Banff, Alberta, 2013
Banff Centre Artist Award, April 29, 2013-June 1 2013, Banff, Alberta, 2013

Brissenden Scholarship in Creative Writing, UBC Department of Creative Writing, B.C., 2012
Faculty of Arts Graduate Award, UBC Department of Creative Writing, B.C., 2012

Jentel Artist Residency Prgram, Sheridan, WY, 2009

The Photo Review, International Photography Competition, 2nd Place, Juror: Philip, 2008
Brookman, Senior Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2008

Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching, Art Academy of Cincinnati, OH, 2004

Nevada Artist Fellowship, Nevada Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts, 2003
Santa Fe Prize For Photography, Finalist, Santa Fe Center For Visual Arts, 2003

Nevada Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts Jackpot Grant, Las Vegas, 2002

Marjorie Laird Scholarship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2001+2002

American Photography Institute: National Graduate Seminar Fellowship, NYU, New York, NY, 2001
International Research Scholarship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2001
James F. Adams Scholarship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2001
Graduate Research Assistantship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2000 - 2001
Summer Session Scholarship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2000 - 2001

Graduate Student Association Scholarship, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2000

Canada Council for the Arts, Emerging Professional Artist Grant, Canada, 1999


Archives et Mediateque, Musee d’Art Contemporian de Montreal

The Banff Centre, Public Collection, Banff, Alberta

Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania

Anchor Archive Zine Library, Halifax

Center for Fine Print Research, United Kingdom

Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, Public Collection, Las Vegas, NV

Bank Street Arts, United Kingdom

Gallery Boekie Woeki, Amsterdam

The Nevada Museum of Art, Public Collection, Reno, NV

Culture Vultures, Sefrou, Morocco

Collection of Chelsea Rooney, Private Collection, Vancouver, B.C.

Collection of Michael Bishop & Lynn Criswell, Permanent Collection, Chico, CA

Estate of Maggie Reeves, Couturier, Toronto, Ontario

Collection of Mark Burns, Las Vegas, NV


Revista Arte & Meserii (Magazine), Bucharest, "Cara Cole; Artist Feature," by George Mihai, 2014
Korreraporten Live fran Bukarest, Swedish Radio, Contemporary Art in Bucharest, Nov. 14, 2014
Artless "Artists Projects Catalogue," Finland, 2014
Ayatana Air Currents: Artists, 2014
Radio Interview on Vancouver Public Radio: The Story Telling Show: Cara Cole, January 26, 2014

Boulder Pavement Magazine, “Violence“, July/August Issue, Banff, Alberta, 2013

S Cube Gallery, ON THE EDGE: Statements in Black and White, pages 17-20, Essay by Peter Frank, 2011
Stu News Laguna, "S Cube Gallery’s ‘On The Edge: Statements in Black and White’, Cross-Media Exhibit Opens Saturday," image Eclipse, Vol. 4, Issue 33, 2011
Laguna Beach Independent, "Gallery Rows New Occupant Brings an Edge," Daniella Walsh, 2011

Art Scene California, "Cara Cole; Daydream," Liz Goldner, September 2010

944 Magazine, "Gut Reaction, Cara Cole’s Terrifying Tension," Jennifer Henry, April 2007
Las Vegas Weekly, "Cara Cole, Brutal Instincts," Scott Dickensheets, April 19, 2007

The Photo Review, "2006 Competition Issue," Editor: Stephen Perloff, October 2006
Las Vegas Weekly, "Fine Arts: Group Therapy…" Chuck Twardy, March 16 2006

Las Vegas Mercury, "Photographs by Cara Cole; Paintings by K Jeon," E Yowell, July 15, 2004
Las Vegas City Life, "Kyung Jeon and Cara Cole face off at DUST," G. Crosby, July 14, 2004
Las Vegas Weekly, "Uncertainties Unite, Duo Exhibit at Dust…" Chuck Twardy, July 8, 2004

Cincinnati City Beat Weekly, "Look Here," Julie Bernzott & J. Vaughn, pg. 59, Dec. 3, 2003
Cincinnati City Beat Weekly, "Best of Cincinnati for December 1, 2003," November 19, 2003
Cincinnati Weekly, "The Weeks Top Picks," Vol 1, Issue 5, pg.53 November 26, 2003
Las Vegas City Life, "Death Becomes Them," Natalie Durante, pg. 43, January 30, 2003
Las Vegas City Life, "Eat Their Dust," Jarret Keene, pg. 39, February 6, 2003

Las Vegas Weekly, "That Flesh is Air, Too…" Chuck Twardy, pg. 55, July 20, 2002
Las Vegas City Life, "Beauty is the Beast…" Gregory Crosby, pg. 52, May 2, 2002
Las Vegas City Life, "Eight Is Just Enough…" Gregory Crosby, pg. 53, April 4, 2002
Las Vegas Weekly, "Ain’t That Peculiar?…" Chuck Twardy, pg. 51, April 4, 2002

Las Vegas Sun, "Local Artists’ Works Caught in 'Intersection,'" K. McGee, April 5, 2002
Las Vegas Weekly, "Two Shows Look at Photography’s…" Chuck Twardy, pg. 50, March 28, 2002

Journal of the American Photography Institute 2001, New York , NY, Editor: Cheryl Younger, 2001