Other Voices: Squeak Carnwath
Squeak Carnwath mixes familiar and recognizable images-think New Image painting- within a smart, sharp fields of patterns built of numbers and colors then overlaid with words. Carnwath’s fields look conceptual; they are methodical in structure like an algebraic formula on a blackboard but then suffused with thoughts that stand out-a translation of her internal dialogue out loud onto the canvas for all to see. Like Mel Bochner’s recent language paintings and prints, or Joseph Kosuth’s room size neon sculpture, Carnwath has been using words for many decades. The broken phrases or private messages convey feelings, emotions, directions, observations and in one instance the outraged reply to her mate’s mumbling words while he slept: MY NAME’S NOT TINA she cried back. Hence a painting of the same name, loud, riotous lettering making it clear that there aint no Tina here. No she is not Tina and not anyone but Squeak a tough, thoroughly educated and aware former UC Berkeley teacher and full time artist who has built a forty year career yet without the kind of flamboyance and fan fare of other California painters such as her peers Ed Ruscha and his nomenclature of the everyday or Wayne Thiebaud and his personal diner aesthetic. Why one may ask? We no longer think of either Ruscha or Thiebaud as California painters. They are renowned across the US and abroad as well with exhibitions at galleries and museums nearly everywhere. For Carnwath such recognition is on the horizon; she is being discovered by a new generation that sees in her work a worldly and wise freedom. Carnwath is the interpreter of the present. Like Ruscha and Thiebaud she borrows from the everyday but she does not stop there; she wants us to think about this everyday. And as another painting shouts out at us WAITING FOR A MIRACLE, 1992 – Read more by Michael Klein, NAP Contributor, after the jump.