Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Brenda Goodman: Self Portraits at Sikkema Jenkins, rear gallery

Brenda Goodman's Self Portrait 55, 2006, mixed media on wood, 64 x 62 inches in Self Portraits at Sikkema Jenkins through February 12th.

Self Portrait 4A, 1994, oil on wood diptych, 80 x 72 inches.
Memories of the early 1990s flood me upon seeing this seminal painting, having seen it exhibited just after completion, though can't remember where, gasping in shock of Goodman's exposure of the hidden struggles usually kept secret. The painting's naked appetite, paint consuming food, body, skin, in a world that feeds itself, a studio full. The woman's response to Giacometti's existentialist disappearing subjects looms among us, Kristeva's description of milk casting the Power of Horror anew for those too afraid to face it: horror not in exposure but the necessity to hide. Social media awareness changed this but even braver, the artist now.

Self Portrait 20, 2005. The artist reviews subjects and objects. 48 x 64 inches.

Self Portrait 17, 2005, oil on canvas, 68 x 84 inches. A strange Nordic or North Atlantic composition with dark huddled bodies atop a beached ice flow form and a huddled audience up front. A winter painting for a winter season.

Details of Self Portrait 4, 1994, 60 x 60, a supplicant Gilles mad the same year as Marlene Dumas' Painter. Unlike the girl with stained red hands, our protagonist is masked and withdrawn, yet corporeal in all ways Dumas' heroine isn't. 

Brenda Goodman, Self Portrait 4, 1994, 60 x 60 inches
Marlene Dumas, Painter, 1994 (image clip online)

Self Portrait 7, 2004, oil on wood, 60 x 65 inches. Imprisoned within a lustrous, elegant surface that remerges in new works including the geometric divisions, palpable as a quavering line. 

A work on paper, behind glass, showing the drawing acumen beneath the built surface.

Detail,Self Portrait 7: packed surface.

Grounding the portraits of the 1990s: Self Portrait I, 1974, oil, mixed media on canvas, 60 x 48 inches, in which drawing plays a primary role. We see the elegance of Goodman's palette, her elegant, Surreal, even Imagist imagination before appetite subsumes her vision and paint stops behaving.

Paint becomes the psychological descriptor of consciousness and habit, paving the way for image-makers like Allison Schulnik. 
In Feminism and the Legacy of Surrealism at Thomas Erben: Untitled, 1973, oil on canvas, 72 x 96.  

Brenda Goodman, Not Long Now, 2021, oil and mixed media on flatboard, 12 x 16 inches. The 1990s appear in scarred surfaces that alternate with smooth areas. Pain incorporates as enfolded forms, returned to color with a measure once reserved for drawing.