Phyllis Goldberg
Curated by Jack Pierson

September 6 - October 13, 2007

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927, Phyllis Goldberg now works and lives in New York City. She began to make art some years after receiving a BA in art history from Brooklyn College in 1967. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows in Vermont and in numerous group shows in New York City. She was a fellow at the following residencies: Yaddo, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She received grants in 2000 and 2003 from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation and in 1999 she was awarded a studio for one year in lower Manhattan by The Space Program of The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation. The exhibition at CUE Art Foundation marks Goldberg's first solo exhibition in New York.


Jack Pierson makes photographs, word sculptures, installations, drawings, and artist's books that explore the emotional undercurrent of everyday life, from the intimacy of romantic attachment to the distant idolizing of others. Many works register as melancholic, their beauty speaking to nostalgia for dreams left unfulfilled. Using friends as models, Pierson has consistently engaged star culture through his work, whether the stars are from the screen, stage, or art world. Refusing cynicism or irony, Pierson relates to his viewers by seeming to admit his own attraction to the fantasy life depicted in his artworks. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Cheim & Read, New York, NY; Alison Jacques Gallery, London; and Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Pierson is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA.



Experiments in Art 1997 to 2007

Ten years ago my work had coalesced into flat shapes that ambiguously referred to both natural and constructed forms. My painting had been questioning the making of art as (as a carrier) carriers of emotion and meaning. To investigate this, I reformulated earlier paintings made in gestural and intuitive modes, then translated elements of these images into simplified flat shapes. The use of this systematic process aided me in forging a dialogue between painterly and constructive visual language.

My intention was to achieve a "presence" in the work, and to this end I would manipulate selected shapes by enlarging them, eliminating extraneous detail and reducing modulated color to flat planes. My goal was to monumentalize forms into something which ambiguously depicted nature without necessarily showing it. These mute, quietistic flat shapes in the paintings hovered at the edge of stasis.

For the past few years my experiments have led me to take these quiet shapes from the darkroom and into the computer. Thus the shapes became energized. I found the results to have a jittery and nervous edge, an exciting shift in my work. It is as though the quiet forms have been placed in a centrifuge, thereby losing their central gravity as well as their gravitas.




by Jack Pierson

Phyllis Goldberg's work vibrates in a zone where intellect intersects with spirit.The artist as alchemist is admittedly an over used trope, nonetheless I assert it again here to describe this woman's practice.

In 1967, Ms. Goldberg graduated from Brooklyn College with a baccalaureate in art history. Twenty one years later a full coming of age (her own, or her son's?) she took up studies at The Art Students League with renown American abstract painter Leo Manso. Since then she has consistently produced fascinating series of works that speak to us of the endless possibilities of form, beauty and change. One has the urge to include "chance" in this list although her early work, while intuitive, is clearly devoted to precision. While making these series, Ms. Goldberg has undertaken the task of becoming proficient in all the media required for their making; photography, ceramics, as well as recent exploration of computer graphics.

Phyllis introduced herself to me nearly five years ago in the lobby of the apartment building where we both live in Greenwich Village. Our building was home to so many contemporary artists at that time, Nan Goldin, Sean Leanders, and Chivas Clem among them. I loved her "presence without a sense of urgency." Having discovered I was a fellow artist she asked for my input on a residency application (she has been awarded over 16 grants and arts fellowships since 1994). I was of course happy to oblige and delighted to find that her work at that moment was, and this was five years ago friends, being made entirely by using the computer as a studio.


This CUE Art Foundation exhibition has given me the unique privilege of examining Ms. Goldberg's evolution as an artist over the last two decades. I am astonished with my findings and eager to share the results with you here.


YOUNG ART CRITICS: Katherine Jentleson on Phyllis Goldberg