Squeak Carnwath

May 15 – June 28, 2008

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present our third solo exhibition by California artist Squeak Carnwath. Central to Carnwath’s practice is her exploration of the act of painting as an art form. Her approach reveals an artistic statement that is cohesive, clear, and intentional with conscious references to art history. The show will include both painting and drawing.

Carnwath sees painting as a transcription of human interaction with a surface. The artist uses recurring iconography, saturated areas of color, and hand written words to construct personal paintings that explore time and place. For her, the work is an intimate yet universal form of expression. With this group, Carnwath continues her use of important images and symbols included in previous painting. Images of LPs rendered in deep circular black brush work punctuate the painted surface of many of the works. For the artist, vinyl records symbolize an entire generation’s history. While the record LP is a contemporary icon, the Roman portrait references the icons of ancient history. Carnwath’s recurring use of this classic face combined with the contemporary record LP conveys calm, confidence, and resignation against the inevitable passage of time. Like much portraiture, Carnwath’s classic face becomes a surrogate for friends and family both present and long gone.

These paintings and drawings epitomize Carnwath’s work in their use of colors, beautifully worked surfaces and combinations of iconography. They not only act as a vehicle of self-expression, but also allow viewers to create their own open-ended narratives.

This work is conscious consequence of actions resulting in a surface of reasoned and purposeful marks, text and image. Marked by intuition, justified repetition and quotation, Carnwath’s art reflects a motivation to articulate both the known and unknown into a visual experience open to transformation by viewers.

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