San Francisco

Squeak Carnwath

Fuller Goldeen Gallery

The critical response to this Bay Area artist’s paintings (and previously to her ceramic sculpture) displays a common ambivalence toward what art historian Robert Goldwater has termed “emotional primitivism.” Carnwath’s repeated focus on a single female figure, in fantastic environments and surrounded by symbolic elements, exudes a darkly obsessive air which at once suggests an infantile state of self-absorption and the projection of an intelligent artist struggling to clarify her consciousness of being in the world. Those unwilling to delve into the ambiguities of the unconscious or to decipher the symbols through which it is manifested may be put off by these enigmatic scenes. Yet the tensions they radiate, as well as the idea of one role of art being to offer connection with inner sources of knowledge, provide strong enticements to engage with the work, and to attempt to decode its

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