Squeak Carnwath

Squeak Carnwath was born in 1947, in Pennsylvania, and is a contemporary American painter and arts educator. Carnwath is concerned with the philosophical and mundane experiences of daily life, and uses a range of vivid colours, text pattern and image in her work. Process is a huge element to Carnwath’s work, the process in the work itself, daily life, the studio world, encompassing passing thoughts, emotions and anecdotes.

The above works caught my eye, with the warm gold and deep blue, they aren’t necessarily presented as a pair but in my mind they belong together. The more I looked at the works the more there was to see, in the human touch of handprints, to the most notable wording “bad”. As I draw closer to the small page of text in the middle I see in repeat “I will be good”, it feels like a child’s voice, or the inner world of someone on the brink of despair.

Just as the previous example I chose these two pieces to look at more closely as they shared similar characteristics, the half empty or half full glasses, along side the numbers. It reminds me of maybe numbers of days, like when people count how long they have been imprisoned, or maybe how long they’ve been clean from drugs or alcohol, and then the glasses – half empty half full, it’s a well known saying, denoting pessimism or optimism. Could this be related to the days? What do the days indicate? Optimism for sobriety? Pessism for freedom? The colours used and the layout feels as though the numbers and glasses are situated in some kind of dessert or alternate plane of existence. It does really connote some kind of philosophical questioning.

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