Categories: Cathy Breslaw, THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: Catherine Goodman, New Works

Hauser & Wirth, Arts District, Los Angeles
Through May 5, 2024

by Cathy Breslaw

March 12, 2024

Catherine Goodman in her London studio, 2023© Catherine Goodman. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Oskar Proctor

London based artist Catherine Goodman’s 10 large scale oil paintings on view at Hauser & Wirth, are a veritable display of luscious organically flowing forces of energy in motion. Initially a bit dizzying to focus on, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the intensity of the screaming rich reds, yellows, oranges, greens and blues, and forms that dance and rotate in the spaces of the canvases. Fortunately she has made room for white and black spaces important in giving the viewer a place of peace in an otherwise highly-charged chaotic mix of vibrations of color and forms. There is a physicality to the two dimensional surfaces with a combination of thick impasto brushstrokes  that are both shiny and dull,  alongside thinner more transparent shapes and drips. 

Traditionally trained at London’s Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts and the Royal Academy Schools, Goodman is known for her portraits and drawings of landscapes, cityscapes, interiors and people. She has taken her trademark gestural tonal works and shifted to this body of expressionistic abstract imagery.

Installation view, ‘Catherine Goodman. New Works,’ Hauser & Wirth Downtown Los Angeles 27 February – 5 May 2024. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Keith Lubow

Interestingly enough, once we have our ‘bearings’ standing in front of her paintings, we begin to see and experience the underlying structures. They harken back to a mix of figuration and the natural world which is seen in her stand-alone pastel and painted drawings. An example of this is the one abstract drawing (Spargrove II, 2023, pastel on paper) included in this exhibition.  Goodman’s well-honed active drawing techniques become visible and we can see how she may have started these paintings as drawings en plein air, allowed them a gestation period before bringing them ‘to life’ as these present tense, in the moment paintings.  Goodman’s work references 20th century Abstract Expressionists like Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, and Willem de Kooning in her mark-making, gestural and rich-hued forms as well as the character of line-making with the brush.

Girls 2023 Oil on linen 180 x 235 cm / 70 7/8 x 92 1/2 in. Photo: Damian Griffiths

Freedom from rigorous traditional portrait painting, Goodman transports us to her inner world of memory, imagination, relationships, and recollections. Her works feel Intensely personal, almost as if each painting is her working through her authentic thoughts, anxieties, concerns and direct experiences in nature and in communication with the world in general.

Hearing Goodman talk about the sources of her drawings as films, nature and people, the forms in her works start to become visible – almost like the “I Spy” books where the reader is asked to locate some object or person within an illustration filled with a multitude of imagery. Surprisingly, she also talks about these paintings as having evolved from a process of twice per day meditations.

Goodman’s paintings take us on a voyage of discovery – she takes us with her, barely hanging on to the pulsating fast-moving color-driven shapes and images of her electrified paintings.

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