A Painter Uses the Evocative Power of Music to Express Nostalgia for the Past
For Squeak Carnwath, painting is a form of questioning, through which she reflects on the nature of reality, illusion, and experience. As the artist explains: “I think that painting is a philosophical enterprise in that people believe that what they’re seeing is a real thing… Even though it’s just a thin film of paint on a flat surface, people believe in a painting’s reality.” Carnwath’s compositions reflect her conceptual approach. Recognizable images—heads, candelabras, coins—float against colored fields and appear entangled in grids and beside drips and brushstrokes. Aphorisms and observations, written in script, run across her canvases. In Painting Is (2010), Carnwath depicts a piece of notebook paper against a colorful gridded background. The paper reads, “painting is all thought and pleasure,” a teasing, pithy meditation on the nature of a medium whose reality is illusionism.
American, b. 1947, Abington, Pennsylvania, based in Oakland, California