Hardcover144 PagesSize: 280 × 240 mm
Includes 100 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781848222694Publication: January 01, 2021
Series: Contemporary Painters Series

'Gillian Carnegie’s paintings are some of the most hypnotizing reflections on the modern world around; seemingly plain surfaces shimmer with something profoundly mysterious. Barry Schwabsky’s account of the evolution of her work is both wonderfully informative and beautifully written. I unreservedly recommend it.'
Jennifer Higgie   Editor at Large, Frieze

Gillian Carnegie

Barry Schwabsky



  • Barry Schwabsky has been following the artist's career since 2000 and has worked closely with Gillian Carnegie in the development of the book
  • Provides detailed analysis of Carnegie's Cat and Bum paintings to elucidate what motivates the artist's successive approaches to painting


The singular paintings of British artist Gillian Carnegie (b.1971) have been exhibited and discussed extensively for nearly two decades but this is the first substantial publication on her work.

Carnegie’s work is explicitly analytical, systematic yet oblique in its reexamination of traditional painting genres such as still life, landscape, portraits, and the nude – all of them 'genres without a subject', as they have sometimes been called. Yet she makes clear that her impulse to resuscitate these categories is not simply an exercise in formalism, historicism, academic reverence, postmodern pastiche, or nostalgia. And far from being without a subject, far from having no story to tell, Carnegie’s paintings insistently suggest that there is a subject, that there is a story, but that the painting exists not to communicate it but to conceal it, to hold it incommunicado. 

In contemporary painting Gillian Carnegie's work stands apart, quietly, calmly and insistently uncanny, with an emotional tenor unlike anything else in art today.

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