Love Letter to Anne Carmack

Anne Carmack, This Is Where The Reverend Lives, 2019. Acrylic on Canvas. 36 x 48 inches. Courtesy of Anne Carmack.

Somewhere in Pico, Santa Monica, Anne Carmack walks by three balloons barely floating in an alleyway trash can. She takes a picture and labels it “THE PARTY’S OVER.” And just like that, a couple of discarded decorations become a piece of art. 

That’s what Anne does. She starts a conversation between image and language, creating romance and longing from the things that other people don’t see. In her paintings, a hollow looking house is paired with “THIS IS WHERE THE REVEREND LIVES.” In another, a faceless rabbit runs toward “SPEAK OF A JOY.” The meaning making of Anne’s pieces happen only when both the text and the shapes are absorbed as a pair, the two things contrasted side by side within the context of their whole. The paintings’ feeling, perhaps, is the bridge built between the text and the paint strokes, the command for joy and the eager rabbit — each component changing the meaning of the other, the combination creating something I feel on my deepest, most human level. 

It’s 10 a.m. I’m typing, drinking tea; the dog is by my feet. Anne’s painting on our bookshelf reads “THIS IS EVERYTHING WE NEED.” In Pico, my dear friend Anne has been up for hours. I check my Instagram, and there it is — her latest little masterpiece from this morning’s walk. It’s a picture of an abandoned cat tower, captioned “ANOTHER LESSON IN LOSS.” I smile and double tap it: the modern day love letter that never says enough. 

Author: Natalie Warther

Natalie Warther is a senior writer at 72andSunny and an M.F.A candidate at Bennington College. She is a prose reader for GASHER Journal. Her most recent fiction is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y, Maudlin House, MoonPark Review, and the 2021 Bath Flash Fiction Award Anthology. Natalie lives in Los Angeles.