Celebrating aspects of femininity by drawing influence from the past and memories, my work investigates internal lives of women by portraying a connection between sense of self and the desire to retain strength while exhibiting softness, sensuality, and perhaps vulnerability. As a process driven artist, with a passion for painting and surface enhancement, textiles provide stimulus for current paintings which are predominantly on canvases made of deconstructed garments coxed from my wardrobe and vintage collection.

Charlotte native, Caroline Rust earned a BFA in Painting from East Carolina University in 1993 and an MFA in Painting from Winthrop University in 1997. She has an eloquent vision derived from her enduring interest in fashion design and admiration for women’s history. She empathetically responds to authentic stories of females, inspired to poetically weave their internal strength into her work. Described as a painter’s painter, Rust creates intriguing surface assemblages with garments enriched through the use of expressionistic color. In a synthesis of emotion and intellect, her works of art regard the dressing table and wardrobe in metaphor to reflect qualities of the feminine, consider the complexities of womanhood, and explore identity.


Rust’s award winning works of art are procured by private and corporate collectors and featured in juried group and one-person exhibitions annually. Most recently she exhibited a body of work entitled “Reflecting Her Story” at Radford University Art Museum in VA and at The Center for the Arts – Rock Hill, SC; for which she received a grant from the SC Arts Commission and Arts Council of York County. Rust’s work was selected in 2017 for Charlotte’s public art program, ArtPop Street Gallery. It was while Rust was an artist-in-residence at McColl Center for Art + Innovation in 2015 that she began using garments as low-relief grounds for paintings. Selected exhibit locations include: Grand Central Library – New York, NY, Point Park University – Pittsburgh, PA, “The SC State Biennial” – Columbia, SC, UNC-Charlotte – Charlotte, NC, East Carolina University– Greenville, NC, GoggleWorks Art Center – Reading, PA, Spirit Square Gallery – Charlotte, NC, Central Piedmont Community College – Charlotte, NC, and Artemisia Gallery – Chicago, IL. Rust has been a professor of art and design at UNC-Charlotte and Winthrop University. She has professional experiences in arts administration, marketing, planning, and development in academia and commerce. Committed to art and community, Rust advocates for public art in the region. She has served on the ArtPop national board of directors and is currently an officer on the Women’s Art Initiative board in Rock Hill, SC. She is project manager of WAI’s current commission and collaboration with the City of Rock Hill. Rust has been a member of the National Association of Women Artists of New York, NY since 2010.