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SQUEAK CARNWATH HOW T HE MIN D W O RK S


SQUEAK CARNWATH


Catalogue © 2019 Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. Artworks by Squeak Carnwath © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. No part of this catalogue may be printed or reproduced without the artist’s permission. Publication made possible thanks to support from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. This catalogue accompanies the exhibition Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works May 18 - July 28, 2019 Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art Pepperdine University 24255 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90263 Design: Julia Schwartz Photography: M. Lee Fatherree Cover image: Beginner, 2008. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 70 x 70 inches.


SQUEAK CARNWATH HOW TH E MIN D W ORK S essay by Daphne Anderson Deeds

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art Pepperdine University May 18 - July 28, 2019


HOW TH E M I ND W O RKS Daphne Anderson Deeds

Squeak Carnwath is an uncommonly

the Mind Works.

An examination of

generous artist. Her expansive mind

four key pieces elucidates the exhibition

draws us in, including us as she muses

title. Beginner is a large work that can

and questions her way through each

be seen as a tutorial for understanding

painting. Philosophical, revelatory and

how and why a painting is made. Like the

often wry, Carnwath’s honed canvases

treasure maps Carnwath made as a child,

are observations of the human condition

Beginner invites us to “enter here”. Two

offered without pronouncements. We

abutted rectangles painted in different

feel the embrace of her compassionate

shades of pale pigment segment the

intelligence, allowing our minds to

space, becoming more nuanced as we

wander into our own conclusions.

consider them.

Carnwath renders her

canvases in bas-relief, lending the twoCarnwath uses an array of visual

dimensional three-dimensional depth.

systems to convey her polymathic mind.

We feel the corporeal substance of the

Universal symbols, personal references,

paint, because we can see the edges

topical information and scribed words

of her application. There are no tricks

function in tandem to convey personal

or gimmicks. Every part of each of her

truths and big concepts. Her ability to

paintings is evidence of her brush and

cohere seemingly disparate ideas into

her hand. She welcomes pentimenti

visual poetry entails a sophisticated

and detours, even as she applies more

sense of time. Like a Medieval painting

paint to an already laden passage. To

that depicts the journey as well as the

Carnwath, process is revelation.

destination,

Carnwath’s

is telescopic.

temporality

Each painting has an

Beginner’s veiled layers and brushed

implied history and a sense of the future

texture are punctuated by small, dark

unfolding.

In these well- articulated

vertical marks that pull us back to the

spaces, the mundane is at parity with

surface, reminding us that reality is

the sagacious, and it all makes sense.

always in tandem with illusion. Triangular

The clarity of the finished work derives

sections of the color wheel project like

directly from her well-examined life.

sign posts at the upper and right edges of the canvas, inserting their imperative.

Twenty-three paintings comprise How

A grey, impastoed area partially overlaps 5


one of the striated wedges, reiterating

many studio sessions. It is her stream of

that the expressive is tangential to the

consciousness writ large in paint. Using

rational. At the left, two octagonal forms

words as both abstract markings and

are grouped with a vigorous scribble,

content-laden text, she gives us a painting

aligning geometry and abstraction.

that captures her mental activity while

Carnwath’s objectives are laid bare in her

conveying a compelling sense of intimacy.

signature trompe l’oeil notebook page

From afar, the black script on the cream

telling herself, and thus the viewer, “All

field, punctuated by the occasional red

photos contain the death of the subject

underline, seems like an ancient text

– a photograph preserves something

on parchment. At closer range, we feel

which will cease to exist. Painting

almost voyeuristic as we read the artist’s

preserves ephemerality and the fragile”.

fleeting thoughts. The handwritten words

For Carnwath, painting is a Proustian

flow rhythmically across the canvas, and

language she uses to retain her elusive

variances in the size and density of the

thoughts as she seeks to make the

entries create an inherent pattern. A sense

philosophical tangible.

of urgency is palpable as the notations

Her paintings

are always in the present tense.

move from top to bottom, ever smaller and increasingly compacted. As the eye

Mental Chatter is the record of Carnwath’s

rests, different words and phrases leap

peripatetic

in

out, imparting meaning to each reader

paint. This graphic cacophony was

differently. Particularly prominent in the

accumulated during the course of

upper register is the statement, “The

mind

immortalized

Beginner, 2008. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 70 x 70 inches. 6

Mental Chatter, 1999. Oil and alkyd on canvas, 48 x 48 inches.


search is now more arduous more time

space. With Nina, each segment of color

consuming more slow”. We read on,

is filled by block letters in a contrasting

and understand that Carnwath’s search

color spelling a Simone song title. These

may refer to the Truth, women’s rights,

honorific paintings have distinct palettes.

economic

the

Girls is in pinks and reds. Dylan’s songs are

Shakers, the legal system, and myriad

an array of greens. Nina is a more varied

other topics.

The transitory nature

suite of blues and pastels. The pattern

of the thoughts revealed also make

of the patchwork composition and the

Mental Chatter an emblem of mortality

variously sized words move together as

– moments of awareness caught in the

a whole across the canvas, like a musical

amber of paint.

score. And though Nina is a tribute to the

disparity,

Nabokov,

activist and her music, it is also the shared Carnwath often listens to music as she

memory of an iconic soundtrack that

paints. In recent years, she has made

immediately unites the artist and viewer.

a group of large paintings as homages to favorite musicians, including Bob

Many

Carnwath

(Bob Dylan), Edith (Edith Piaf), Nina

elements of her personal iconography.

(Nina Simone), and Girls – featuring

Though

song titles by female singers.

Her

symbols convey subconscious meanings.

quilt-like format is a return to an earlier

Mars functions like as a small retrospective

series comprising colorful, irregular

because the viewer who is familiar with

rectilinear shapes that occupy an airless

Carnwath’s oeuvre will notice the return of

Girls, 2015. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 75 x 75 inches.

Bob, 2015. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 80 x 80 inches.

not

paintings

overtly

narrative,

include these

7


earlier imagery. The sinking ship takes

of her life and the lives of fellow listeners.

on a contemporary political meaning,

The lumpen mass may refer to the artist’s

even though the painting dates from

training as a ceramicist.

2012. Carnwath has continued to use

working with clay remains in the density of

this image, now as a metaphor for the

Carnwath’s compositions and the plasticity

helplessness many Americans currently

of her paint. Again we see the intermittent

feel. The upended boat appears twice,

vertical brushstrokes floating just above the

painted to appear as though collaged

painting’s surface, singular marks signifying

onto the canvas, reminding us that

the essence of art-making. The image of

every Carnwath painting is all paint.

a framed page of casually handwritten

The grid sections of color and horizontal

notes reads: “there are no mistakes failure

black lines have also appeared in other

is a good thing, it is the key to success”

works as art historical references, or

and “Not all George Washington’s teeth

touchstones for her artistic evolution.

were wooden, or made from cow’s teeth,

The lower half of Mars features images

some of his dentures were from slaves’

of a candelabrum, two LP records, and

teeth.” These statements sum up two of

an amorphous form on a pedestal. The

Carnwath’s credos. First, work from self-

candles suggest enlightenment, or the

knowledge and follow where the work

luminosity that emanates both from

leads you. And second, seek the truth on

painting and from spiritual awareness.

behalf of the common good.

Evidence of

The records allude to Carnwath’s love of music, and thus they serve as markers

Nina, 2015. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 70 x 60 inches. 8

Mars, 2012. Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel, 75 x 65 inches.


P L AT ES


Mystery, 1991 Oil and alkyd on linen 20 x 20 inches 11


Waiting for Spring, 1992 Oil and alkyd on linen 36 x 36 inches 12


What is Heard, 1993 Oil and alkyd on panel 24 x 24 inches 13


Mental Chatter, 1999 Oil and alkyd on canvas 48 x 48 inches 14


Sign Seen, 1999 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 15 x 15 inches 15


In Pursuit of Happiness, 2000 Oil and alkyd on canvas 77 x 77 inches 16


Reflection, 2005 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 90 x 80 inches 17


Perfect, 2006 Collograph with chine collĂŠ 64 1/4 x 52 1/4 inches Edition of 12 18


Beginner, 2008 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 19


Thought & Pleasure, 2009 Oil and alkyd on canvas 10 x 10 inches 20


This Road Only, 2010 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 21


Many Selves, 2011 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 22


Catch Light 2, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas 24 x 24 inches 23


From Far Away, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 24


Gently on the Sea, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 60 inches 25


Mars, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches 26


Beautiful Language, 2013 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches 27


Lucky Dog, 2014 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches 28


Nina, 2015 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 60 inches 29


How Our Minds Work, 2016 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 60 x 70 inches 30


Study Drawing for Roy, 2016 Oil and alkyd on polypropylene 31 x 30 inches 31


Send Help, 2017 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 32


We Still Have Music, 2017 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches 33


Sit Grey, 2018 Gouache and graphite on polypropylene 36 3/4 x 29 3/4 inches 34


To the Sea, 2018 Gouache and graphite on polypropylene 35 1/2 x 29 inches 35


S QUEA K C A RNWAT H SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2019 2016

2015 2011 2009

2007

2003

2000 1999

1998

1997

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Not All Black and White, Jane Lombard Gallery, New York, NY Crazy Papers and Sister Objects, American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC What Before Comes After, Jane Lombard Gallery, New York, NY Squeak Carnwath, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA Squeak Carnwath Short Stories, Texas State University San Marcos, JCM Gallery, San Marcos, TX Squeak Carnwath: Paper Trail, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA Squeak Carnwath, David Beitzel Gallery, New York, NY Squeak Carnwath: The Amness of Things, Palm Beach Community College, Museum of Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, FL Squeak Carnwath: Seeing in the Dark, California Museum of Art, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA Squeak Carnwath: Undraped Human Being, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA Squeak Carnwath: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper, Cohen Berkowitz Gallery for Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO

1994

1986

1982

1980

1978 1975

Squeak Carnwath, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA Squeak Carnwath, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA Squeak Carnwath: Paintings and Prints, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI Squeak Carnwath: New Paintings and Works on Paper, Van Straaten Gallery, Chicago, IL Squeak Carnwath, Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, CA Squeak Carnwath, Hansen Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, CA Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) Award 1980, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA Squeak Carnwath, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA

SELECTED AWARDS 2018 2008

2002 1994 1990 1985 1980

Lee Krasner Award, The PollockKrasner Foundation Emil and Dines Carlsen Award, 183rd Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy Museum, New York, NY Flintridge Foundation, Award for Visual Artists, Pasadena, CA Guggenheim Fellowship Alice Baber Art Award National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artist Fellowship National Endowment for the Arts,


1980 (cont’d)

Individual Artist Fellowship Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SECA), Award in Art

EDUCATION 1977 1907-71 1969-70

California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, M.F.A. California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland Goddard College, Plainfield, VT

TEACHING 2011 2008-10 1998-08

1983-98 1993-94

1982-83 1982 1980-82

1979 1978

1977-78

Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, CA Professor of Art, University of California, Berkeley, CA Professor in Residence, Department of Art Practice, University of California, Berkeley, CA Professor of Art, University of California, Davis, CA Visiting Professor & Associate Dean, School of Fine Arts, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Visiting Artist, University of California, Berkeley, CA Guest Artist, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Shopmaster (ceramics), California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Guest Artist, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Instructor, Ohlone College, Fremont, CA Instructor, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Guest Artist, California College of Arts Crafts, Oakland, CA Community Artist, Neighborhood Arts Program, Alameda County

1976

1971

Teaching Assistant (ceramics), California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA Teaching Assistant (ceramics) for Vernon Coykendahl, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945–1980. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985. P. 266. ISBN 0-520-05193-9. -- ISBN 0-520-05518-7 (pbk.) Bourbon, Matthew. “Squeak Carnwath at David Beitzel.” New York Arts Magazine, May 2000, 2 black and white plates, p. 39. Carnwath, Squeak. Squeak Carnwath: Lists, Observations & Counting. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996, ISBN 0-8118-1220-0. -ISBN 0-8118-1171-9 (pbk.) Cotter, Holland. “Art in Review: Squeak Carnwath at LedisFlam Gallery.” The New York Times, September 17, 1993, p. C18. Istomina, Tatiana. “Squeak Carnwath. “ Art in America, January 6, 2016. Manoogian, Bridget. “Reconstructing Carnwath.” Shift X, 1990, pp. 16–18. Maxwell, Douglas F. “Squeak Carnwath at David Beitzel Gallery.” Review: The Critical State Of Visual Art In New York, February 1, 1998, pp. 27-28. Nadaner, Dan. “What Only Painting Can Do.” Artweek, January 25, 1986, p. 3. Ollman, Leah. “Wonder of Life Bathes Carnwath’s Canvases.” Los Angeles Times, May 1990.

37


Smith, Roberta. “Review: Squeak Carnwath Speaks With Her Varied Palette.” The New York Times, December 31, 2015, p. C24. Tsujimoto, Karen and John Yau. Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object. Petaluma, CA: Pomegranate and Oakland, CA: Oakland Museum of California, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7649-4888-6. -- ISBN 978-0-76494917-3 (pbk.) Walrod, Anne. “Squeak Carnwath,” in Moira Roth, ed., Connecting Conversations, Interviews with 28 Bay Area Women Artists. Eucalyptus Press, Mills College, 1988, p. 22–28.

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR Berkeley Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, CA Bowdoin College Art Museum, Brunswick, ME Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco, CA di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, CA The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Richard L. Nelson Gallery & The Fine Arts Collection, University of California, Davis, CA Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA Palmer Museum of Art, University of Pennsylvania, University Park, PA

38

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, CA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT for full bibliography, visit squeakcarnwath.com


LIS T OF W ORKS EXH I B I T ED Mystery, 1991 Oil and alkyd on linen 20 x 20 inches

From Far Away, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches

Waiting for Spring, 1992 Oil and alkyd on linen 36 x 36 inches

Gently on the Sea, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 60 inches

What Is Heard, 1993 Oil and alkyd on panel 24 x 24 inches

Mars, 2012 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches

Mental Chatter, 1999 Oil and alkyd on canvas 48 x 48 inches

Beautiful Language, 2013 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches

Sign Seen, 1999 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 15 x 15 inches

Lucky Dog, 2014 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 75 x 65 inches

In Pursuit of Happiness, 2000 Oil and alkyd on canvas 77 x 77 inches

Nina, 2015 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 60 inches Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, New York

Reflection, 2005 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 90 x 80 inches

How Our Minds Work, 2016 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 60 x 70 inches

Perfect, 2006 Collograph with chine collĂŠ 64 1/4 x 52 1/4 inches Edition 1 of 12

Study Drawing for Roy, 2016 Oil and alkyd on polypropylene 31 x 30 inches

Beginner, 2008 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, New York

Send Help, 2017 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, New York

Thought & Pleasure, 2009 Oil and alkyd on canvas 10 x 10 inches

We Still Have Music, 2017 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery, New York

This Road Only, 2010 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches Many Selves, 2011 Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel 70 x 70 inches

Sit Grey, 2018 Gouache and graphite on polypropylene 36 3/4 x 29 3/4 inches To the Sea, 2018 Gouache and graphite on polypropylene 35 1/2 x 29 inches

Catch Light 2, 2012 oil and alkyd on canvas 24 x 24 inches 39


Profile for squeakcarnwath

Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works  

This catalogue was published in conjuntion with the exhibition Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works at the Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdin...

Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works  

This catalogue was published in conjuntion with the exhibition Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works at the Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdin...

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