Trying to Know Lost
80 in HIGH x 110 in WIDE
(203.20 cm HIGH x 279.40 cm WIDE)
Gift of Katherine Ruttenberg

written in charcoal(? ) on right and left side: "TRYING TO KNOW LOST"
"Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object", OMCA, Great Hall High Bay, April 25 - August 23, 2009.

This is an oil and alkyd painting on canvas. Two-thirds of the canvas on the right side is painted with a red and green pattern of large X shapes, organic forms, and nested diamonds. A faux paper flier that advertises a reward for a lost bird.is painted at center right. The left third of the canvas contains multiple graphics painted on a mottled tan background. "HEALTHY" is painted on the lower left side in tan, and "SWEETIE" is painted at top left in black. A grid of nine multi-colored boxes is visible at lower left.

Curator Karen Tsujimoto notes that for provenance/exhibit information contact Carnwath Studio at 510/893-9829. The painting was reproduced in the book Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object, 2009 (published by OMCA and Pomegranate Press, p. 63). Karen Tsujimoto has a high resolution disk of all book images. The following information about the painting appears in Karen Tsujimoto's essay, "Making Art: The Practice of Life," in Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object (p. 62): "Carnwath completed the large Trying to Know Lost a year after her mother's death. The title itself implies that Carnwath is adrift without her parents. The artist's sense of loss is emphasized by a small flier that advertises a reward for a lost bird. Carnwath received the flier from a friend and in transposing it to canvas she gave it her own contact number. The bold red-and-green pattern, which appears in variation in Memory Structure, 1998, and Think About It, 1999, recalls the upholstery of her family couch and the design on the Turkish rug and velvet drapes of her old piano teacher, whom she recalls fondly. Writing of Think About It, Maria Porges observed how these sensuous, boldly patterned, and painterly forms, like Matisse's dynamic interpretations of pattern and color, function simultaneously as figure and ground, object and environment. But Carnwath sees the space in her paintings not as deep three-dimensional pictorial space but as the mental space of conscious thought: "Painting or creating is not a replica of life but a tool for insight."

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