ARTIST PROFILE [PREVIEW]: "In a New Space," Brenda Goodman Turns Towards the Light

Looking back over Brenda Goodman's body of work, you're struck by the protean nature of her technique as well as the underlying, overwhelming sense of anxiety and trepidation. Over the course of her fifty-plus years as an artist, her works investigate Munch, Miro, Goya, and Chagall, with aspects of Symbolism and Surrealism incorporated for good measure. In her self-portraits from the mid-1990s and early 2000s, for example, which reflect Goodman's contemporaneous struggles with her body and with food, the effect is one of utter horror and hopelessness. Transmuted into a monstrous, misshapen ghostly form with spindly hands and a gaping maw, Goodman's own body resembles images of the Titan Saturn devouring his own children. Another collection of works from around the same time, on the other hand, has an almost spiritual bent to it, with glowing golden blocky forms against black backgrounds that evoke of a mysterious temple or edifice in the underworld.
Brenda Goodman, Tomorrow's Promise, 2017, oil on wood, 32 x 50 inches, courtesy of DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary
Goodman's approach is grounded in the traditional formal education she received at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit in the 1960s, yet is wholly characterized by her intuition and impulsive nature. As she puts it, she "[puts] the color on and take it off until it feels right." Yet despite the glimmer of recognition some of her older works might inspire, Goodman is clear: "I don't channel, but I do think my work often taps into universal themes and images. And even though my initial impulses are personal, the resulting paintings are never so personal that they don't speak to larger, universal issues in life."

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