2014 MFA Thesis

Cara Nahaul

Cara Nahaul’s practice of painting and printmaking investigates the entangled roles of representation, photography and performance. Using archival family photographs as reference points, props and objects are displaced from their original context and repositioned within imagined interiors, pointing to the fissures in her source material. In addition, she uses the absence of the human figure to reflect on subjectivity and the theatrical performance of the self that is in constant flux.

For Nahaul, the photograph is evidence that becomes material for interpretation, like a trace left at a crime scene. Typically working from images that are in black and white, the invention of what the photograph might have looked like in color is a significant part of her process. The colors do not stand in for those of the event portrayed in the photographic image. Rather, they appear on the canvas as nebulous blocks of paint. The work explores how color can trigger unique encounters in every individual and touches upon social and aesthetic meanings formed via the language we use to describe it.

Born in London, UK, Cara Nahaul completed her BA in Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths University. She won the Heart of England prize at the National Open Art Competition and was selected for the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. Nahaul was chosen for the inaugural Jerwood Painting Fellowships, which culminated in an exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery, London and toured across the UK. Recent exhibitions include Another Country, The Nunnery, London (two-person) and Painting the Pixel, Gallery North, Newcastle. She is a Fulbright Scholar and lives in New York City.


Cara Nahaul / Sit and Pry / 2014 / Oil and flashe on canvas / 54 x 64 inches

Cara Nahaul / Untitled / 2013 / Oil, enamel and spray paint on canvas / 48 x 64 inches

Cara Nahaul / You are here / 2013 / Oil on canvas / 64 x 48 inches

Cara Nahaul / Proposition for a backdrop / 2013 / Oil and spray paint on canvas / 36 x 42 inches

Cara Nahaul / Margins of Error / 2013 / Oil and spray paint on canvas / 54 x 64 inches