In the Contra Costra Times, Laura Casey reports that Squeak Carnwath’s paintings are not the type of creations you slap on your wall because they match the drapes. “Through pigment and canvas, they can cry out angry frustration. In her 1999 work ‘Promise,’ she scribbles vows to the viewer that she will ‘try’ to be good. And even in their somewhat nerve-racking complexity, Carnwath’s work becomes rather lovely and meaningful, especially to those who attempt to decode what the 62-year-old Oakland artist is trying to say. But don’t ask Carnwath to interpret her paintings for you. She is intentionally vague about the stories behind her works. She wants her viewers to read and analyze her paintings themselves.
“‘You can’t worry about what anybody thinks when you are making art,’ she says. ‘I just put it out there.’
“‘I think they are beautiful,’ says Oakland Museum of California senior curator Karen Tsujimoto, organizer of ‘Squeak Carnwath: Painting is No Ordinary Object.’ ‘She’s masterful with paint, but her work is a combination of thinking and looking and feeling.'”
“Squeak Carnwath: Painting is No Ordinary Object,” organized by Karen Tsujimoto. Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA. Through August 23. The exhibition’s companion book, Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object, is a 160-page retrospective of Carnwath’s career. It features more than 80 color reproductions and essays by Tsujimoto and art critic and poet John Yau (co-published by Pomegranate, 2009).