ANN GOLDBERG STUDIO
Vancouver, BC Canada
"Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness - to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness - to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light."
For my 8th solo exhibition, I present a series of paintings exhibited at the Pendulum Gallery in downtown Vancouver, BC. This is work uniquely influenced by the period of self-isolation and physical distancing necessitated by COVID-19 in the context of that difficult time.
As can be seen in the works for the show, the subjects primarily consist of Canadian perennial flowers, an inspiration born from the isolation enforced during the pandemic. The works primarily consist of original oil paintings on canvas, but also include photographs on Dibond (aluminum) and white framed inkjet premium paper.
Our current global pandemic has resulted in significant social and economic disruption. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear triggered and deepened emotional and mental health issues in many. Alcohol, drug use, insomnia, and anxiety were often an unfortunate consequence.
During this period of self-isolation and physical distancing necessitated by COVID-19, I began to find myself responding & connecting with nature; seemingly even more than with people. This exhibition presents my practice through my paintings in the unprecedented social context of this tumultuous time. I found artistic, social and environmental inspiration in isolation.
While isolating during the early part of the pandemic, I happened to be painting flowers for a previous show. This isolation caused me to consider the human connection to flowers and more broadly our collective connection to nature. I began to see anthropomorphic qualities in these flowers. Human emotions in these plants were revealed as multitudes of tragic pandemic stories were being reported. These revelations led me to engage with plants as a significant source of life, connection and inspiration. I observed these subjects in more detail than usual, with all my senses. Colors, sounds (and silence), smells, and texture were all experienced with heightened sensitivity.
These observations were given meaning and context by the Richard Powers novel “The Overstory”, which I was reading at the time. Powers uses his climate fiction novel to encourage us to reshape our thinking and give more energy and care to the natural environment. These thoughts were similarly advanced by works in Martin Roth’s 2019 NYC exhibition “At Home with A Garden”. His exhibition reinforced my intuitive belief in the power of plants as symbols of hope and healing.
But the works of Roth and Powers are not alone. “Flower Power”, “The Secret Life of Plants”, Theophrastus’ “Enquiry into Plants” and many other slogans, symbols and works have spoken to us throughout the decades and even centuries. All recognize the indelible connection between our two kingdoms, and their representation of promise and peace.
Like so many others, past and present, I take special comfort from this natural environment that we are all connected to, and that connects us to one another. These surroundings have gifted us a beautiful symbol of enduring permanence, the perennial flowers we are reintroduced to each spring. Their example provides hope and promise that we will make it through this difficult time connected to nature and connected with one another. Hope and promise for us, the ‘Perennial Canadians’.
I work in oil on canvas with an inclination toward Hyperrealism (as defined by Jean Baudrillard) and Abstract Expressionism - despite their apparent opposition to one another. I have an interest in the altered reality that digital photography can create, which can often be perceived in my paintings. My work is influenced by my background as a mathematician and an architect. This background infuses all of my work with an artistic exactness supported by the demands of these disciplines.
I am concerned with issues of beauty, realism and the representation of everyday objects. My focus on the mundane elevates it from the banality of everyday life. I often seek out beauty and catch it in subject matter that is ostensibly unremarkable. Objects and moments are scrutinized and captured with absolute precision.
Upon initial inspiration, I utilize technology as a tool by capturing hundreds of high-resolution digital photographs in order to find the perfect vehicle for my message. I then edit the chosen images for enhanced clarity, saturation and brightness if need be, imparting a deeper sense of legitimate originality.
I am presently self represented and for 15 years had been represented by Winsor Gallery and Gallery Jones in Vancouver & Gibson Fine Art Gallery in Calgary, AB. I have worked with the Bruce Lurie Gallery in Los Angeles and was seen as part of their presence at the Art Hamptons Fair in New York. My seventh and most recent Vancouver-based solo show was held in October 2020 at the Pendulum Gallery.
For six years, I sat on the board of Arts Umbrella, and on occasion taught art and architecture there. From 2013 - 2014, I was artist-in-residence at West Point Grey Academy.
In 2017, my work was selected to be featured in a photorealism group show in Zaragoza, Spain. The show was produced in association with the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona.
Notably, I was also recently presented as the feature artist of the “Large and In Charge” group show at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. This show featured a small number of prominent Canadian artists and ran from October 2018 to February 2019.
1 Ginsberg, Allen. “Psalm III.” Reality Sandwiches, San Francisco, CA, City Lights Publisher, 1963, page 62.
2 Powers, Richard. The Overstory. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.
3 Ludel, Wallace. “Martin Roth’s posthumous project to turn an abandoned upstate building into a living ‘plant concert’ is nearly complete” www.theartnewspaper.com, The Art Newspaper, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2021/06/01/martin-roths-posthumous-project-to-turn-an-abandoned-upstate-building-into-a-living-plant-concert-is-nearly-complete, June 1, 2021.
4 Ginsberg, Allen. "Demonstration or Spectacle as Example, As Communication, or How to Make a March/Spectacle", Berkeley Barb, November 19, 1965, republished in The Portable Sixties Reader, Ann Charles (Ed.), Penguin Classic, 2002, p.208-212
5 Tompkins, Pete. The Secret Life of Plants. NewYork, Harper and Row, 1973.
6 Theophrastus. Enquiry into Plants. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1916.
7 Baudrillard, Jean (1994). Simulacra & Simulation (PDF). The Precession of Simulacra: University of Michigan Press. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-09.