Drawing on the more organic style of her earlier work, this new exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Carol Brown Goldberg fills a space between the joyous Impressionism of Henri Matisse, particularly the cutouts and later works, and the Washington Color School, exemplified by Morris Louis, Gene Davis, Ken Noland, Tom Downing, Paul Reed and Howard Mehring. Characterized by bold, exuberant color and imagined biology, the artist has already been paired with Matisse at the Phillips Collection in an intimate exhibition, curated by Klaus Ottoman in 2015. We are delighted to include in this exhibition one of Goldberg's paintings from that exhibit, "Maggie on My Mind". With the legacy of the Washington Color School an important one for this city and the artist's long career here, it is unsurprising and gratifying to see some measure of that Washington Color School legacy in Goldberg's work.
The artist's lush, imaginary landscapes and interiors pit flat planes of color against a wild energy that animates these paintings and drawings. As the cool, controlled works by Noland, Davis, Mehring, Downing, Reed and Louis sought to bring a measure of control to their canvases, in stark contrast and challenge to the abstract expressionism that preceded them, so Goldberg tightly controls the exuberance of her forms by carefully outlining them. As Matisse used black to suggest saturation rather than absence of color, so Goldberg uses it to propel her exuberant patterns into the painting foreground. And, despite the complexity and intricate layering of the compositions, these paintings harmonize with one another in a manner not unlike a well planned garden. In fact, the artist uses "Garden" in the titles of many of the paintings, like "Garden of Enkidu" and "Beverley's Garden" to suggest just that.
Clement Greenberg, in an essay titled, "Towards a New Laocoon", arguing for a new abstraction, stated, "Impressionism, reasoning beyond Courbet in its pursuit of materialist objectivity, abandoned common sense experience and sought to emulate the detachment of science, imagining that thereby it would get at the very essence of painting as well as of visual experience. It was becoming important to determine the essential elements of each of the arts. Impressionist painting becomes more an exercise in color vibrations than representation of nature." As the preeminent champion of the Washington Color School he examines the origins of Color Field painting and the tensions which continue to exist, and one should expect to exist, between the old and new art forms. Carol Brown Goldberg, in this collection of paintings and drawings, straddles those worlds: Impressionism with its personal but essentially figurative interpretations and Contemporary with its mandate to break from that tradition, with a collection of strong, grounded works conceived with a foot in both the past and present.
The fearless manner in which Goldberg continues to approach her work is so well expressed by this quote from Matisse: "From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves."
The artist has shown internationally in over 100 solo and group shows in such diverse locales as Mexico and Spain. Her work is included in and been chosen for exhibition in such museums as the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection the Reading Public Museum and the Foonsaner Art Museum. Permanent outdoor installations of her sculpture may be seen at Medina del Campo Sculpture Park in Spain, the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington, D.C., Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and, soon, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
The gallery is located in Upper Georgetown at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Reservoir Road and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 until 5:30 and by appointment.
For further information and images please contact Ms. Romy Silverstein at 202.338.5180