Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stewart Goldman, Rebel?

The Cincinnati Art Museum would have you think so in its new show. However an artist who rebelled against Abstract Expressionism is rather cliché. In doing so, Stewart Goldman: Presence through Absence seems to play down some of the rather obvious references to AbEx’s geometric and organic visual language that find their way throughout Goldman’s work. By trying to illustrate a different road towards abstraction, the show seems to battle art history. For example, Goldman’s abstract Feldafing Scape of 1997 is said to have been created after the artist’s trip to Germany. Yet there is no mention of a possible influence of German Expressionism even if to dismiss it. Similarly, Goldman’s Untitled series of couches bathed in various light neglects referring to Monet’s Haystack series, which achieved the same.

I enjoyed the presentation of the development of Goldman’s work over the last few decades from a geometric realism to abstraction. Perhaps because it mirrors a history of Modern art that I still enjoy watching unfold each time I walk through museums. The show's focus on absence is intriguing, but I think the narrative is forced. Perhaps I will have to wait until May 6th for Professor Matthew Dayler’s gallery talk to better see what is not there.