Shirley Goldfarb (1925-1980): Paintings
From December 18th, 2007 to February 2nd, 2008, ZABRISKIE GALLERY EXHIBITS THREE PAINTINGS BY SHIRLEY GOLDFARB.
These three large oils span a decade of Goldfarb’s career, from Lime and Purple of 1967 to the eponymous 1977. They hint at her transition from the more gestural abstractions of the sixties to the patterned grids of her later work. Behind these paintings is the studious march toward the simplicity of her late monochromes, as the strokes became more controlled. The vastness and flatness of the canvas are emphasized by the rigidity and simplicity of each individual stroke. Finely-ordered expanses of varying bright colors activate a pictorial space in which the viewer is free to wander.
In these paintings, a viewer is confronted by the exhaustive contemplation that went into Goldfarb’s life as well as her work. Her process of placing these pixel-like daubs of paint onto the canvas was a meditative “walk across the canvas” rather than a geometric calculation. Line by line, spots were added in this organic manner, allowing Goldfarb to flirt with pattern while remaining expressionistic in application.
This purposeful meander of pigment was matched by her life’s path. At the age of 25 in 1950, Goldfarb moved from Pennsylvania to New York, where she studied at The Art Students League with Will Barnet and others. She married the artist Gregory Masurovsky and moved with him in 1954 to Paris, where she lived as part of an American expatriate population that included Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis, Norman Bluhm, Shirley Jaffe and Paul Jenkins. Like many of her contemporaries there, she worked in a gestural, Abstract Expressionist mode for several years. Goldfarb found perhaps more stimulation from her friendships with Art Informel painters Yves Klein, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and Serge Poliakoff, and with the Surrealists Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Alberto Giacometti.
Galerie Zabriskie Paris presented one-person exhibitions of Goldfarb’s paintings in 1991 and 1994. Her work is well-known in France, but her first solo exhibition in the United States came only later in 1997, when a retrospective was held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Goldfarbs works are in many major collections here and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Basel Kunsthalle. This is Shirley Goldfarb’s third one-person exhibition in New York.