Solo Exhibitions

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

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:

For the trees, the forest, October 2018:

We know little. We know the little details, the pieces that are easy to pick up and tuck into the pockets of our perception. When we observe the world we make it smaller to fit inside our understanding, dissecting everything into discrete categories which we observe through a microscope that points away from that which is larger. We look at a tree and label its limbs, count its rings, distinguish its species, even calculate its yield in board feet. We mentally whittle life down to twigs and leaves, assigning a label to each level of dissection then living in the confines of our categorization. Such specialization is the specialty of our species, for small is surmountable, while the larger is too big for our grasp. A tree is easy, but what of a forest? Can we understand something that transcends its details and encompasses subject as well as object?

We think we remember what a forest is. We see the trees and believe that if we add up their numbers they will equal forest. But a forest is more than its trees, it is in the spaces between them, lingering among the shadows that seek to merge with the shadows of our imagination. One must decode the patterns of light and dark to find it, and there too one might encounter oneself, recalling beyond recollection to a time when humans lacked words to name trees but knew the shelter of their shade.

It is the same with any scene: a landscape is different from the details that comprise it. A landscape should be seen as a whole, as an arrangement of entities without identities, and most significantly as a place of which we are a part. To perceive a landscape is to perceive space, to see not the objects comprised within, but rather where those objects are oriented relative to ourselves. A landscape painting is an attempt to change where one imagines one's self to be.

But that very self poses a problem. We often miss the landscape because of the distracting details, and of those details the greatest distraction is the self. We dissect the world, but in the process we too become extracted: wearing our self like a tag on a pin, we separate our ego from our ecosystem. We too are trees - like the things we see - though dug up from the landscape and carved into effigies, to be kept on pedestals out of touch with the soil. Our roots fail to bind the landscape to us, for the connection has eroded and we do not remember that we are a part of the forest. We are effigies, and we have even forgotten what it is to be an uncut block of wood.

With these paintings I am trying to return to the forest, to capture something greater than the mere components of scenes. Made in disregard of detail, these are scribbled paths of paint, in pursuit of the light and shadow that define a place. They are depictions not of trees but forests, not of buildings but cities, and not even of landscapes so much as the feelings that define them. These are attempts to portray how it feels to be somewhere, in a different place, but a place of which we are a piece. These are paintings of the proverbial forest, and reminders that we too are trees.

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.