The Drawers - Sybil Goldstein   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Highly Recommended, Jan 11 - Feb 20, 2007

Sybil is a painter. Best known for her large canvases, these paper works are developed paintings on paper with the basis of an impasto ground layered by light. There is an atmospheric quality to the layering of paint, gestural handling of the strokes and chiaroscuro depiction of light. There is also awkwardness as if the footprints of her journey are evidence of having explored a challenging path. It is this aura of 'challenges overcome' that creates an after effect of admiration for a task accomplished. And in the wake of the admiration there is room for sensual enjoyment and the intellectual appreciation of the juxtaposition of elements.

Goldstein's work can be related to Matisse when there are figures, the Post-impressionists (Bonnard and Van Gogh in particular) when there are interiors or gardens and Picasso with the angular treatment of the horses heads, to name just a few from the works at hand. She walks between subject matters as if channeling from a cosmic visual subconscious that was most prevalent during the throes of Modernism. Goldstein's choice of specific subject is also rich in historical reference; there is a memory of Velasquez in BCE I, a recollection of Emily Carr's filtered light in Heaven II, an awareness of Utrillo in Flicker Alley. She appropriates from a collective consciousness of art history. She uses the same tools of the trade as they did - none of the digital under-lays or tricky new media, but an honest stab at the meat of the matter - the depiction through paint of the variety and oddness of existing. This is the source of admiration when confronted with Sybil Goldstein's work. She obviously believes in the transcendent power of the process of painting and the resultant creation of new visual phenomena - but not without acknowledging the complexity of her awareness with a salute to those who came before. With an unwavering commitment to Neo Expressionist painting, Goldstein probes the bubble of the present and joins the avant-garde.

Copyright 2007,  Headbones Gallery