Squeak Carnwath, Hung Lui, and Inez Storer
Feb 16 - April 11, 2010
Bedford Gallery features the work of three renowned Bay Area artists who utilize the figure, personal symbols, and abstract elements to tell their stories. The exhibition Story Painters: Drawings, Paintings, Prints and Tapestries by Squeak Carnwath, Hung Liu, and Inez Storer was originated by the Bedford and provides the region with a first-time opportunity to view a survey of these extraordinary artists who are known nation-wide, yet have never exhibited together.
Carnwath, Liu, and Storer are exceedingly accomplished, known nation-wide, and have been profiled in major museum exhibitions. All three have numerous catalogues profiling their work, and all have produced significant public art projects nationally. The selection of art works in Story Painters represents each artist’s archetypal style; dexterity among media; and in some cases, new works that have not been previously shown.
Curator Carrie Lederer states, “It makes perfect sense to present these three outstanding artists as visual narrators for our contemporary tales. Their distinct voices reflect a range of experiences not uncommon to our own. Squeak, Hung, and Inez have the impeccable ability to reveal intimate personal stories while making the viewer feel as though they are part of the discourse.”
Squeak Carnwath combines personal symbolism (lists of words, numbers, and observations) with universal imagery (elemental objects such as tree stumps and rabbits), to create a window into the spiritual world. The medium of paint is particularly appropriate for delivering Carnwath’s revelations, as she applies layers one after the next, encouraging figures and ground to merge. The textures, colors, and shapes permeate and link every element; just as discrete thoughts and ideas merge into a greater fabric of consciousness.
While most art tells a story, artist Hung Liu’s work documents a revolution. Liu is a storyteller whose art reflects the turmoil of her life that, in turn, parallels the birth and evolution of Chinese communism. Interweaving aspects of Western and Eastern Culture, her work portrays the consequences of authoritarian power, the collision and assimilation of individual and national identities, and the changing roles of women in Chinese society. Liu is mostly known for her paintings based on historical black and white photographs of pre-Revolutionary China which she brings to life with vibrant color and her signature wash of dripping linseed oil.
Inez Storer combines a painted and collaged surface with personal, complex, and familial storytelling. Narratives of the “absurd” are of great interest to her, and her approach ranges from comic book to retablo-like composition, with imagery that brings into play aspects of Surrealism and Magic Realism. Storer’s dream-like narratives often employ an uncanny sense of humor and have an aspect of implied history. She couples her slightly off-balance figures with text, fabric, and landscape, all of which appear to be passing from one reality to another.