Shadows, hieroglyphics inspire California Artists
Jackson Hole News
Wednesday February 11, 2015
Katina Huston uses ink to trace the changing shapes of shadows.
Squeak Carnwath paints hieroglyphic-like images from a symbolic language she created.
Both California artists will have work on display at Tayloe Piggott Gallery, starting this week.
The opening reception for Huston’s “Unfolding” and Carnwath’s “Lucky Dog” is 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The shows will hang through March 24.
“Both Katina and Squeak are not easily classifiable artists,” said Carolyn Ripps, the gallery association director. “They both are incredibly process-driven. I think that is what draws the gallery to their work.”
Huston was born and raised in San Francisco. After graduation from high school she moved to the Big Apple to study the history of fine art at New York University.
After college she started making sculptures.
“I had than interesting challenge,” Huston said. “I’m cute, and being a cute iron caster is problematic.
“I would spend my day with a sledgehammer and people would pat my head when I walked down the street. I had all these qualities that were not visible in me.
Huston decided she wanted to explore experiences and characteristics that people often ignore. In search of a new medium to convey her concept, she started to study shadows.
“Shadows are a little slice of experience that might be cut up and peeled off the ground,” she said.
To Huston shadows are not just areas where light is blocked by some thing; They are shapes that urge people to look at ordinary objects in a new way. They can make trees appear shorter and people look taller.
“The beauty of the object becomes unfamiliar but reverberates in the body, a human experience,“ Huston said.
“Tracing the movement of shadows, she started making ink drawings on mylar sheets.
“Unfolding” highlights Huston’s shadow artwork. A piece that shares the exhibit’s title shows the progression of a bike’s shadow.
“I was thinking about shadows and seeing all these crippled bicycle shapes on the ground that are chained to posts. Huston said.
“Unfolding is her first show at the gallery. She always makes a point of being present at her shows’ opening receptions. She particularly likes attending openings in small towns.
“When I go to an opening reception in a small town I see the person I bought a sandwich from or the person I had coffee with,” Huston said.
Her ink drawings are a stark contrast to Carnwath’s bright-colored paintings.
Mixing text with a collage images and symbols, Carnwath wants people to engage and to think about her work.
“Lucky Dog,” the exhibit’s namesake, uses text to point out a controversial subject.
On the top right corner of the canvas Carnwath wrote “Humans have less privacy. All that we do is captured. In pictures, online, digitally archived in the cloud… Our pets have more privacy that we do. My dog is lucky.”
Also part of Carnwath’s paintings are small images.
“The sinking ship and candelabra are archetypical of Squeak’s work.”
While Carnwath’s symbols seem randomly plaed and thought of, they are created with the intent of representing the breadth of human emotion.
Sometimes they symbolize even bigger concepts such as time, place and existence- ideas that cross people’s minds when they meditate.
Knowing that some forms of deep reflection require a repetition of chants or body movements, Carnwath created an artistic form of meditation by painting certain symbols over and over.
“There is a great sense of humor in her work, and it is almost has a Zen-like quality,” Ripps said.
New and older Carnwath paintings will also be on display.
“It will be interesting for viewers to see the evolution and the significance of repetition in her work. Ripps said.