Within the gallery space, you can feel the time and motion of the artist’s hand “stitching” dots onto the canvas. By standing in front of some paintings, you will encounter an undefined space in which Goldberg is searching for what he calls “thereness.” This space will pull you close, until the only thing in your vision is the world that Goldberg has created. As the “thereness” pulls you towards the canvas, you may start to notice the exciting disorder of the layers and the human quality of the imperfection of Goldberg’s brush strokes.
On the surface, Goldberg’s paintings are attractive and beautiful, but just as Goldberg creates layers in his paintings, they are layered with meaning and ideas. In an interview on the blog Gorky’s Granddaughter, Goldberg speaks about several different concepts that he is interested in exploring with his work. Below are some of Goldberg’s quotes from this interview in which he tells us his particular interests, but it is important to keep in mind one of Goldberg’s purposes, which is, “If I am doing it in the way I want to do it, I too can look at these with a very incomplete understanding of them.”
When looking at one of Goldberg’s paintings, it does not take long to begin contemplating what the painting is about, or to apply your own thoughts or emotions to its surface. His paintings naturally take you to another place, which is one of his goals:
“I am interested in things other than physical utility,
like the utility of the mind, or ideas."
He’s also interested in those moments when ideas become language and words bubble to the surface until you can’t help but say something or ask a question. In voicing your ideas, a conversation begins, which Goldberg finds important:
“I like that important conversations can happen around
works of art or actions - mine, yours, or anybody’s.
Hopefully that is what we are most interested in."
A conversation may arise about the feelings evoked by his paintings. There is a sense of calm created through the repetitiveness of the dots, but also by showing repetition, he shows action:
“I am interested in action… action is another way to say
that I am looking for quiet, maybe somewhat mysterious,
action in my work, that is the way it feels for me.”
With this action, there is an awareness of the hand placing the dots meticulously on the canvas, tediously filling it with texture and color. It is as if Goldberg is weaving or stitching, and in fact his wife was a weaver:
“A lot of my interests, we can say, is in the
in between zone of craft and art.”
With such a large and detailed canvas, it’s hard not to make a mistake. A dot may be out of place, or there might be some paint outside of an outline. Goldberg does not despair or find the flaws something to cover up, but instead asserts that:
“I am interested in precision and flaw, like working together...philosophically, I am interested in the union of clarity and imprecision. So within all our clarity is flaw.”
By Maria Gorbaty, Gallery Assistant
Glenn Goldberg: Of Leaves and Clouds is on view at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery through April 14, 2017. More information is available at www.gwu.edu/~bradyart
Media Advisory: https://mediarelations.gwu.edu/brooklyn-artist-glenn-goldberg-show-works-interpreting-nature-gw%E2%80%99s-luther-w-brady-art-gallery