Bringing the outside in 

The creative work of Diego Goldfarb

Dr. Nurit Cederboum

As the adage goes “from life comes art and from art comes life”, and this is never truer than in the works of Goldfarb. What life does this artist create? And what is his source of inspiration from his life? This large collection of his works carries the observer to natural scenes, landscapes, pastoral views, observation points, trees, streams and boulders. The vistas that are reflected in his works might be every or any natural Israeli location, but Goldfarb does not fail to mark the location and reminds the observer, with the title of each work, that it does actually describe a particular place, such as for example, “The Hermon through Ruby Forest”, “Ruby Forest” and again “Ruby Forest”, “The Banias River” and “Eucalyptus”.

The place to which Goldfarb continually returns is apparently the place where he has chosen to live; to watch in his own particular way, to observe as if investigating, to recreate and interpret – these practices have become part of him, part of his life, and of his artistic path, a life creating art, art creating life and so on and so forth. This vitality emerges and surges out from his means of interpretation, a festival of colors, brush strokes, motion and structure.

Goldfarb belongs to a group of artists that the philosopher Merleau Ponty described as full partners in the phenomenological method of investigation. This is a painter who observes reality as a phenomenon that must be researched, residing in the metaphysical profundity hidden within the folds of what is observed, a depth that abstract thought finds it difficult to describe. This is that familiar fascinating encounter between the eye and the spirit.

Golfarb returns again and again, for example, to Ruby Forest and explores it incessantly. Even when his paintings are based on photographs, his investigation studies the details collected from the field: he determines the time of photography for the photographs, meaning the state of the light, the angle of photography, and the viewpoint. Next he returns to his workplace, “the laboratory”, and examines the collected “data”, and then interprets the reality that he has experienced and frozen, enlarging it, and creating a new reality.

In his own fresh way and in his own handwriting Goldfarb corresponds with the history of art and with the greatest of artists. The presentation of the same subject, the same location, the same tree with different coloring, and titles with shrewd intimations: “Ruby Forest on a green background”, “Purple Ruby Forest”, “Ruby Forest on a white background” tell us about an almost polyphonic discourse with the palette, echoing the statement of McLuhan “the medium is the message” and in line with the impressionists who investigated the same place at different hours of the day and in different lights. This is a discourse in many times, in many voices, in many tones.

Goldfarb paints the Ruby Forest in a lot of green, and by the way tells us about complementary colors and the qualities derived from the combinations of these colors, Ruby Forest is revealed in its redness, even when Goldfarb mentions as an aside “on a purple background”. A dialog ensues that binds the artist and the observer with a familiar external scene, in a familiar location, that on this occasion externalizes the artist’s internal landscape. The artist observes some sort of external source out of attention to and observation of the internal source.

The artist’s dialog is also conducted with Cezanne, when he deconstructs the landscape with brushstrokes, creating an internal structure within the larger structure of the painting. Goldberg’s Ruby Forest resembles Mont Sainte Victoire, “the hill that Cezanne would return to again and again, painting it from different angles as he developed his concept”, “the flat depth” expressed in splints of colorto match the geological structure of the hill, limiting his color palette to four main colors: purple, green, ochre and blue. Goldfarb corresponds, in his own way with one of the most talented artists who later influenced the cubist painters and modern art in general.

Charles Baudelaire writes, “The style and emotion in colors stems from the choice, and the choice stems from the temperament. There are gay and playful tones, mischievous and sad, rich and happy, rich and sad, familiar and original”. And he adds that the best way to know if a particular picture is melodic is to observe it from a distance where we no longer perceive the subject or the outlines. If the picture is melodic, it already has meaning and has already captured its place in our collection of memories.

Indeed, the creative work of Goldfarb tell a story about a particular place, in nature, a particular landscape – but if we perceive it from a distance and look at it without relating to the subject or the outlines, or the title, we can sense the melody of the artwork and capture it in memory and know that although the source of its inspiration is a particular place and a particular person, yet it can at the same time be any place at any time.

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