The shapes, colors, and lines of San Francisco artist Rebekah Goldstein’s paintings, sculpture, and drawings in her debut solo show at Cult Exhibitions, “Passenger,” provide a compelling view of the many present concerns, ideas, and expressions in contemporary abstract art. The thick, black angular lines that carefully dissect both grand-scale and smaller canvases into respective planes are further complemented by polygons filled with gestural and technical applications of bright, rich colors, implementing more architectural compositions to explore multidimensionality, while populated with imagined and real structures. The artist’s obvious restraint and calculated organization are an intriguing response to the perhaps more intuitive expressions commonly seen in an artist’s process of abstraction. Yet, among these well-intentioned executions, there is also a definite organic nature to the forms which evince an informed application of geometric interests not only of modern painting, but also sculpture. In this way, Goldstein’s paintings aim not only to obscure the boundary between representation and abstraction, but also between disparate art media and genres.
For this recent collection of paintings Goldstein began the painting process by arranging fragments of objects in a collage-like approach found in her studio. These collections included such varied elements as clothing with intriguing patterns, various flora, human figures, and architectural elements. These tableaux informed Goldstein’s arrangement of the shapes, planes, and swathes of colors in the foregrounds and backgrounds of the paintings. This process was said to have been continually repeated throughout the creation of the suite of artworks, translating the particular formal components of the sculptures by her own interpretation between painting or drawing to create an infinitely rich dialogue between the two. The section of sculptural works in the room at the back of the gallery show give greater dimension to this particularly interesting facet of her practice. While each offers the other a piece of itself, and thus together creating a holistic experience of Goldstein’s oeuvre, the abandonment of each object unto itself in the gallery space now impel them to now exist as mere fragments, incapable of expressing what both together so eloquently can. By doing so, Goldstein leaves this subject and message ambiguously fresh for audiences. Exacerbating ideas surrounding displacement illustrated in her works, and exhibiting that schism, “Passenger” suggests the metaphorical fragmentation and transience in the composition of contemporary life.
Rebekah Goldstein, “Passenger” will be at Cult Exhibitions, 3191 Mission St. through November 1, 2014.