A Case of the Human Condition: A (Female) Painter Named Squeak

squeak-carnwath-oakland-museum

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Squeak Carnwath’s paintings — now on view at the Oakland Museum — strike me as consummately female. They muse, they introspect, they meander, they talk (lotsa writing on these paintings) — like most women I know.

Which makes me wonder how Squeak’s work might have been received in an earlier era. Probably not at all. Her paintings lack that (male!) power and directiveness. They don’t try for (masculine!) authority.

Instead they explore. A quotation at the entrance of the show puts it nicely: ”The matter of being alive is something to be investigated.”

It was my friend Nini who took me to see Squeak’s show the other day, and we lost ourselves in it. The Oakland Museum exhibition represents the last 15 years of Squeak’s work, a period in which Squeak has “come into her own,” according to the docent who explained a few things to us.

The docent also explained those black disks, which I find harsh but which Squeak likes the looks of: They represent old-time phonograph records. Squeak shows only the records’ Side One. And that, she says, is just like life: You don’t get to see the other side.

Nini was taken with the shimmering, layered effects of Squeak’s oil and alkyd  technique. I was too. There is a depth and complexity there that struck me — again – as feminine.

(I love art-viewing with Nini. She has a great eye: Witness the art museum of a house she’s built, decorated and rents out in San Miguel, Mexico.)

Squeak is a California artist who’s taught art for three decades. She taught (Nini) at the Univerisity of California-Davis, and is now a tenured professor of art practice at UC-Berkeley. She’s had fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Squeak Carnwath’s show was at the Oakland Museum of California in 2009. 

Enjoy!

© 2009 Barbara Falconer Newhall

Subscribe To Site:
Share
This entry was posted in God Is Big and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall. and www.GodsBigBlog.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Barbara Falconer Newhall and www.GodBigBlog.com with appropriate and specifc direction to the original content. Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA. The Psalms are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Material originally published and copyrighted by the Oakland Tribune is posted here by permission. WordPress theme adapted from Thematic Theme Framework