Solo Exhibitions

2022    Concentrations, LAUNCH Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2020    When dreams absolve daylight, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2020    There That May Yet Be, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2019    Traces, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2019    Light of A Parallel Plane, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2018    For the Trees, the Forest, The Blue Azul Collection, San Diego, CA
2018    In the Spaces Between, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2017    Mysmemorphia, The Blue Azul Collection, San Diego, CA
2017    Shadow Discarnate, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2016    Sky Without Angels or Stars, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2015    Carbon, KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2014    Inseparate, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2013    Speculations, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2012    Grey, LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2012    GaGa Gallery, Insa-dong, Seoul, Korea
2012    MayJune Gallery, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
2011    Specifically Ambiguous, LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2010    Scaped, LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2009    Observations, Lawrence Asher Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008    Black-and-White Paintings and Color Photographs, Four Walls, San Diego, CA
2006    A Travel Log of Fireflies, Four Walls, San Diego, CA
2005    Pattern and Contrast, Four Walls, San Diego, CA

Group Exhibitions

2023    33rd Annual Holiday Miniatures Show, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2023    New Landscapes, Launch Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2022    32nd Annual Mini Show, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2021    Holiday Miniatures Show, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2020    Group Show 2020, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2019    LA Flora, Launch LA, Los Angeles, CA
2019    Designercon, with KP Projects, Anaheim, CA
2019    Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair, with Abend Gallery, Jackson Hole, WY
2019    Horizons, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2019    Group Show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2018    5x5 Project III, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2018    Group Show 2018, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2018    The 10x10 Exhibition, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2018    The LA Art Show, with KP Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2017    Annual Group Exhibition, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2017    Palm Springs Modernism Show, with the Blue Azul Collection, Palm Springs, CA
2016    All That Glitters, KP Projects Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA
2016    Final MAS Attack, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA
2016    Art San Diego, with the Blue Azul Collection, San Diego, CA
2016    Seoul Art Show, with CK Artspace, Seoul, Korea
2016    Asia Contemporary, with CK Artspace, Hong Kong
2016    Seoul Open Art Fair, with CK Artspace, Seoul, Korea
2016    MAS Attack, San Diego, CA
2015    Annual Group Show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2015    California Light, Sturt Haaga Gallery, La CaƱada Flintridge, CA
2014    Praeteritum, Nunc, Futurum, KP PROJECTS / MKG, Los Angeles, CA
2014    Small Things, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2014    Group Show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2014    A Rare Glimpse, City of Brea Art Gallery, Brea, CA
2014    Silicon Valley Contemporary, with Merry Karnowsky Gallery, San Jose, CA
2014    LA Art Show, with LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2013    Group Show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2013    Fountain Art Fair, with CK Art Space, New York, NY
2013    Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, with LAUNCH, Palm Springs, CA
2013    Beyond Plots, NSA&D Faculty Show, San Diego, CA
2013    Worlds Apart Fair, with Charlie K. Art Space, Singapore
2013    LA Art Show, with LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2012    Vale Fine Art, Paso Robles, CA
2012    Tarfest, Juried by Holly Harrison of LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
2012    ArtPad SF, with LAUNCH, San Francisco, CA
2012    Hong Kong Contemporary, with Charlie K Artspace, Hong Kong
2012    Seoul Open Art Fair, Seoul, Korea
2012    LA Art Show, Modern and Contemporary, with LAUNCH, Los Angeles, CA
2011    MK2 Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2011    ArtPad SF, with LAUNCH, San Francisco, CA
2010    Tarfest, Juried by Edward Robinson of LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
2010    Los Angeles Juried Exhibition, Juried by Franklin Sirmans of LACMA &
           Allie Subotnick of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2009    Context and Construct, Lawrence Asher Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008    Aboutness, SB London, Los Angeles, CA
2007    Juried Group Show, District 117, San Diego, CA
2006    Stephen Beck Gallery, Santa Ana, CA
2006    Monarch Fine Art, La Jolla, CA
2006    Gifted, Four Walls, San Diego, CA
2006    Adorn, San Diego, CA
2006    Truck Show, Thread, San Diego, CA
2006    Space, San Diego, CA
2005    Adorn, San Diego, CA
2004    Adorn, San Diego, CA


MS Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego
BS Psychobiology, University of California, Los Angeles


Art and Cake, "Todd Carpenter at KP Projects", July 2018.
ArtScene, "Continuing and Recommended", May 2017.
Diversions LA, "KP Projects Dazzles", August 2016.
Artsy, "There Is No Los Angeles: Todd Carpenter Grays Out L.A. for His New Solo Show", July 2016.
Section 8 Magazine, "Todd Carpenter - Sky Without Angels or Stars & Vonn Sumner - To Be Seen", July 2016.
Los Angeles Times, "Todd Carpenter on art, neuroscience and seeing the light", August 2015.
WideWalls, "Deedee Cheriel and Todd Carpenter On Show at Merry Karnowsky", August 2015.
Hi Fructose, "Opening Night: Edward Walton Wilcox and Todd Carpenter at Merry Karnowsky Gallery", June 2014.
New Times SLO, "Anatomy on Acid", February 2012.
FABRIK, "Todd Carpenter, Painter of Light", December 2010.
Off-Ramp, interview with John Rabe on SCPR, November 2010.
ArtScene, "Continuing and Recommended," July/August 2008, p.28.
San Diego Visual Arts Network, "Raw: Out and About at the Galleries," June 2008.
California Home & Design, "The Light Touch," May 2008, p. 68.
San Diego City Beat, May 28, 2008, p.19.
San Diego City Beat, "Preview," November 2006.
La Jolla Village News, "Talk of the Walk, Galleries Pour It On," October 5, 2006.
University Heights News, "March Exhibition at Space," March 2006.
San Diego Architecture Downtown guidebook, cover photograph, 2005.

Artist Statements:

Concentrations, November 2022:

These paintings are concentrations: reductions of reality, attempts to extract the essence of what it is like to experience landscapes.

The real world presents our senses with uncountable detail, constantly saturating us with stimuli. A view of a forest, for example, might include the lines of millions of leaves, colored in infinite shades of grayish green. There are also branches and birds, and shadows and dirt, plus all the other forest parts, each made up of even smaller parts. Nonetheless the viewer, inundated with this multitude of detail, might for a moment be aware of just a single concept: a forest. Our awareness of a forest, or a tree or a mountain, is singular and unified, separate from thoughts of the individual details. Thinking of a forest does not entail thinking of leaves.

Then how is it that we are able to recognize a forest or a mountain? Not through any particular detail, because no one detail is essential. The number of combinations of parts that look like a mountain is infinite. The critical characteristics might be more subtle and structural, a foundation that is common to all mountains, concealed beneath the facade of the particulars.

With these paintings, I attempt to examine the features that characterize landscapes. The depicted scenes are simplified to emphasize components that are instrumental in invoking their subject, components such as texture and pattern, gradients and shading, or even the angles of lines. These are the characteristics that might cause the infinite parts to settle into a single idea. With these paintings I am looking for the essence that condenses the details into something singular.

Ultimately the unifying element is the viewer: the infinitesimal point at the center of the sphere of perception. The viewer's mind makes the parts of the scene resolve into something meaningful. These paintings merely concentrate on those traits that will help the mind to imagine. Thus these paintings are concentrations.

Light of a Parallel Plane, January 2019:

With this series I continue to explore how the depiction of light can convey the feel of a landscape. The paintings in this exhibition are generally not representations of particular places or of the individual elements that comprise them, but rather attempts to capture what it might be like to experience those places.

In order to convey the sense of a landscape, I strive for a certain aspect of realism, though it is an inaccurate realism, negligent of proper detail while intent on features that give a painting depth. I am trying to depict dimension, to enable the viewer to imagine being in the real scene, and one reason why I paint in black and white is that it is suited for this portrayal of depth. Black and white make dark and light, the shadow and shading that define dimensionality. The brain uses features such as contrast and gradients - the details of illumination - to determine what is close or far, or round or sharp, and does so without the use of color. Color hue is useful for distinguishing particular things, but black and white is all we require to understand shapes and spatial arrangements. By painting in monochrome, I am focusing on the ways in which light imparts depth and realism to a landscape.

Through the shadows and haze that tell us about a space, light also carries the mood of the place, and it is this that I ultimately try to convey. I want to capture in paint the solitary glint, breaking through at the limits of a view to remind us of the distance that separates us from civilization; or to make record of a shadow, lingering secretly in the shade, as dim proof of the limitless depth of darkness. I want to paint a scene nearly recognized from a forgotten dream, or the invisible atmosphere that hangs above the aura of the imagined. These paintings are places to direct emotion, backdrops to an unrecognizable play, and stages onto which to walk fantasies and fears.

In pursuit of the the feel of landscapes, I find myself moving increasingly towards the surreal nature that sometime arises unexpectedly from my emphasis on light. Consequentially, though these works still wear traces of the particulars that inspired them, and their atmospheres are accented with the breath of cities and forests encountered on travels abroad, ultimately they portray places more foreign than merely being overseas. They are shadows traced by a different light, one with rays running parallel to that which we know as real.

Carbon, 2015:

As a painter, I am particularly interested in the depiction of light, and in the ways in which light contributes to our experience of paintings.

As with any visual art, painting obviously has an essential dependence on light, but there are other, more specific ways in which light is important for paintings. In particular, the depiction of light is crucial for realism. Realism in paintings presumably arises from the accurate portrayal of depth: to see a painting as realistic means to see its subject as existing in more than just the two dimensions of the picture plane. There are several mechanisms by which humans perceive depth, one of which being the detection of lighting cues. The behavior of light in space, generating features such as variations in shading and contrast, tells us about the three-dimensional arrangement of our surroundings. Artists have long used the depiction of these illumination phenomena to impart realism to depicted scenes.

Another manner in which light contributes to paintings is through its ability to impact emotion. The lighting of our surroundings can evoke human emotion, as clearly evidenced by the influences sunsets, candlelight, and darkness can have on us. Effects such as these suggest that our perception of light might be connected to primitive instincts, with light possibly signaling environmental variables - such as shelter, nightfall, or warmth - that were once crucial for survival. The depiction of certain lighting conditions in a painting might have a similar ability to modulate the perceived significance of the represented scene and thus contribute to the emotional impact of the painting.

One reason why I paint in grayscale is that it is suited for the portrayal of light. The lighting features our brains rely on for the perception of depth are apparently built primarily on tone rather than hue. This idea is supported by research in neuroscience that suggests that the areas of the visual system that process spatial relationships are to some degree distinct from areas that encode the colors and details used to delineate specific objects. By painting in grayscale I am attempting to interact with this part of our visual system, with the hope of imparting a degree of realism, and perhaps also conveying some of the emotional significance that light can imbue on places.

It is through light that we see the world, but light itself is also seen, with an impact independent of the objects that project it. Light is both the crisp contrast of a back-lit forest and the gray haze of an industrial landscape, its perceptual power being what transmits the distinct atmospheres of such scenes to the viewer. This ability of light to effect us is the connection between the diverse subjects depicted in my paintings.

The title of this exhibition refers to another commonality shared across its varied subject matter: the chemical element that is both the foundation for the ecosystems of this planet and an agent for our harm to those ecosystems, and which is also the essence of the black pigment used for these paintings. In keeping with this chemistry, the titles of the individual paintings are based on the names of organic molecules that naturally occur in certain plants. Being organic according to the technical use of the term, these molecules - not unlike the paintings they name - are built from a skeleton of carbon.