JOSEPH GOLDBERG | Encaustic Paintings and sculpture
Sky and Stone
Born in 1947 in Seattle, Goldberg was raised near Spokane in Eastern
Washington. He was educated at the University of Washington until he
dropped out in 1968. His first few exhibitions in the late 1960s,
with Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle, revealed two separate
inquiries into abstraction. He was producing small landscape
drawings and paintings that were somewhat surrealistic in nature
while, at the same time, beginning a course of abstraction that
would define his early career. In these first abstractions on paper,
small shapes floated within larger planes of color, the central
shape often echoing the shapes the larger field. They were mindful
of both the Russian Suprematist work of Kasimir Malevich and the
work of post-war abstract artists such as Albers, Rothko and Held.
This paring down of essentials had, by the 1970s, become a direction
followed by various artists across the United States - one thinks of
Robert Irwin or John McCracken as easily as Brice Marden or Kenneth Callahan.
Other works in the exhibition parallel Goldberg's earlier interests in Minimalist painting. Several pieces investigate a severely reduced composition-a field of rich, nuanced white is edged with small bands and rectangles of high key color intruding slightly into it. These are mindful of the late Mondrian works and also of Motherwell's ongoing Open Series in which he would create a painted space suggestive of the openness of doors or windows without being representational. Similarly, much of Goldberg's past and present work seems related to architecture. Suggestions of archeological relics, mosaic panels, floor plans, doors, tunnels, arches, windows and columns, have figured in nearly every body of work. Other paintings in this exhibition are overtly representational with figurative elements in the forms of silhouettes and skeletons, as well as a haunting painting of an owl.