Summer Solos, Part 1: Brenda Goodman

This is the first in a series of current and recent solo exhibitions around the region. We start with the painter's painter, Brenda Goodman, at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, New York. The exhibition, which opened last night, is up through August 10.

Brenda Goodman color coordinating with one of her small paintings on paper

The title of Goodman's new solo is called simply Brenda Goodman: Painting. Personally, I think it should be called Seeing the Light. After a dark period in her life, including the death of her partner's middle-aged son--which resulted in a series of somber and powerful paintings--Goodman has emerged a new woman. She's happy, 70 pounds lighter, and painting with a palette which, if not out-and-out joyous, embraces color and light. Light is indeed a leitmotif.

"My work has always reflected and expressed my internal life and, like myself, I feel the new paintings are bold, bright, animated, and confident,” she writes in her statement about the show. In a visit to the gallery a few days before the opening I found her almost giddy as she showed me around.

The show is on two levels. This is the view of the wall opposite where Goodman was standing

Below: full-on view of Knot, 2013, oil on wood, 80 x 72 inches

Goodman's signature elements remain--the abstracted figures, often with enormous heads atop tiny bodies; the succulently built-up surfaces; and the sense of mysterious narrative--but there are some new elements, too. For instance, instead of the dark, undefined space of her earlier works, there's a sense of architecture. And there's a knotted red shape, a presence, that dominates two of the large paintings. I like the relationship it has to the figures, particularly when it issues what appears to be a beam of yellow light. Convoluted thoughts? Difficult issues? Intestines? I ask. She doesn't say. That's OK. I'll continue to see how it develops. In the meantime, there's a lot to digest.

On the wall opposite the entry: Painted Pony, 2013, oil on wood, 52 x 48 inches

The stairs down to the garden level are to the left. Let's descend . . .

Guardian, left; Talkin at Me

Full-on view of Talkin at Me, with that beam of yellow light

Below: the built up surface, a rich, dense, luminous mass of hues constituting the black head of the figure at left in the painting above

Talkin at Me, left; Brush

You can see images from the entire show here, including--full disclosure--the one I acquired for my own collection: 

Get-A-Way, 2014, oil on paper, 6 x 8 inches


annell4 said...

Wonderful show! Wonderful post! Thank you so much!

julieg said...

When I saw Brenda's new work about a week or so ago I was flabbergasted
by their strength, energy, rich
imagery, surprise...They are fantastic!..and again...
I wish you the best for your show
Julie Gross