Barry Goldberg, Lions and Tulips

Barry Goldberg, Lions and Tulips, New Paintings and Watercolors at Larry Becker Contemporary Art

Wenceslaus Hollar was a bohemian artist who lived in the early 1600s. The young man was determined to be an etcher even though his family had decided he should be a lawyer after all their belongings were lost in the Sack of Prague in the Thirty Years War. The young artist was greatly influenced by Albrecht Dürer, pursuing etching for over twenty years before being discovered by a collector. One of his etchings is titled Lion and Tulips depicting the exotic carnivorous cat dwarfed by giant botanical illustrations of tulips and insects. The effect of the bizarre combination is dreamlike and abstract with the tulips towering over the the aggressive king of the jungle like giant tropical trees.

In the age old tradition of the search for the exotic, contemporary Philadelphia artist Barry Goldberg explores shape, color and material to discover combinations that are evocative of his own art influencers and a distinctive voice of his own. Looking at one of Barry Goldberg‘s paintings is like seeing all of contemporary art mushed into a singular composition; color fields and complementary shapes have the vibe of Mark Rothko but are clear, clean and crisp like Barnett Newman. The edges of the paint are hard but the fields of color look as if they were dragged across the surface with a board exposing the underpainting. The simple shapes are mixed in weird combinations, the colors may clash or compliment, the results are heady and intellectually stimulating.

Barry Goldberg, Lions and Tulips

Barry GoldbergAladdin2014, oil on linen, 70″ x 46.5″, Larry Becker Contemporary Art.

The large paintings on linen have a feeling on tension and strength. The artist makes a strong reinforced frame with a sheet of metal attached, the linen is then stretched tight allowing the painter to aggressively push paint across the surface without the fabric bending. By using the complicated assemblages to paint on the artist is able to achieve solid, strong color ways combining curvilinear shapes like triangles, squares and rectangles into compositions that are pleasing to the eye yet unusual and exotic perhaps even difficult. There are hot orange planes paired with pale blue streaks and deep black fields, neon pinks and thick purples matched with gray, gold and beige outlines creating a contemporary conversation in the artworks with color, technique and composition that feels like a satisfying argument about art.

Soon after his first exhibition, Barnett Newman remarked in one of the Artists’ Session at Studio 35: “We are in the process of making the world, to a certain extent, in our own image.” Utilizing his writing skills, Newman fought to reinforce his newly established image as an artist and to promote his work. An example is his letter on April 9, 1955, “Letter to Sidney Janis: …it is true that Rothko talks the fighter. He fights, however, to submit to the philistine world. My struggle against bourgeois society has involved the total rejection of it.” – Wikipedia

Barry Goldberg, Lions and Tulips

Barry Goldberg, Lions and TulipsFeel2013, oil and pigment stick on linen, 47″ x 36″, Larry Becker Contemporary Art.

Barry Goldberg Documentary by the artist’s son Brice Goldberg

Barry Goldberg, Lions and Tulips at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, 43 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106 through February 14th, 2015.

Hours: Friday– Saturday, 11:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday, by chance, or try doorbell,Monday, closed or try doorbell, Tuesday through Thursday, by appointment, or try doorbell.

Staff: Larry Becker, Owner and Heidi Nivling, Owner

Photographs courtesy of Larry Becker Contemporary Art

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Written by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

admin March 4, 2015 at 8:59 am

Thanks for the cool, and inspirational, review. Loved the part about Wenceslas Hollar (sure he wasn’t from Kentucky?)! Hope to see you around.
All the best,

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