Haviva Goldfarb – “On the edge” one-woman exhibition,
January 2014

Curator: Dr. Anton Biderman

The paintings of Haviva Goldberg relate to edges and passages leading to colorful spaces and areas, some sort of questions about language and a sort of visual physical presence. These works demonstrate much power and disclose a language of painting with a strong presence. There are many acrylic paintings on canvas, in large and small formats layered with paint and material.

Goldberg’s paintings are rooted in the abstract art tradition. This is art that aims to transmit a direct unmediated experience of emotion and content to the observer without any narrative or any iconographic foundations. The artistic “process” and actions in her work tell a story about a perceptive mechanism that moves between spontaneity and expressiveness, conveying movement and flow in the Hard Edge style, a geometric abstract tradition that provides organization and permits the unification of multiplicity. This is artistic abundance, multilingual, inviting the observer to worlds of poetry and mystery, worlds familiar from the work of Rothko, Ardon and many others who wanted to guide the observers to the sublime and invited them to listen to the voices of their soul.

The power of the color and texture lead us far and deep into the domains of consciousness, the spirit and the soul as a unified poetic, musical and mental composition. Layers on layers of material and color are transformed from a spontaneous flowing process into a cognitive conduit towards new and unknown destinations. The colorfulness is saturated and radiates light and brilliance, optimism and hope. The brushwork and the spatula plaster additional color, providing the artist with a range of possibilities in the old/new and renewed field of painting. On large and small canvas sheets she outlines various traces and symbols through a construction and deconstruction process, with organization and appropriate modification. The inertia charges the artist and she reacts with a multi-layered archaeological and graphological dialog.

Looking at Haviva Goldberg’s creative works reveals the complexity of expression that simultaneously combines the “covert with the overt”, order and organization, breaking through boundaries, minimalism versus richness and variety, spontaneity versus accuracy and formalization. A dialog of contradictions appears, creating a web of conflicts, some resolved and some elusive, producing tension and drama that empower the paintings. The dialectic relies on construction/destruction, disassembling and reassembling. Memory traces and symbols are piled into multiple layers and reading them becomes both archaeology and graphology; archaeology due to the depth of the search through the many layers and graphology to decipher the personal and unique handwriting in the complex technique. An additional characteristic already identified in the artist’s previous exhibitions is the search for an archetype as a prehistoric image common to all men, a sort of primary element, and a component of the collective sub-conscious. Using this archetype Goldberg reveals herself and the strengths of the human spirit, each time anew. This is Sisyphean work, and from a thematic point of view it is derived from abstract expressionism, searching for the essence of the world in order to reorganize within the chaos.

Doron Pollack wrote about her painting “the internal logic that is repeated like a connecting thread through all her works, is expressed in the continuum running between direct intuitive outburst and structured order and organization, permitting existence between different and contradicting worlds.”

At the end of this organization “fine”, aesthetic and respectful art is produced. Fine or aesthetic art is a basic principal in the eyes of Kant; this is art that always touches us and to which we will always return as an essential core in the search for the truth. Haviva Goldfarb is an outstanding and moving case of aesthetic “fine art” in the Kantian sense. The aesthetic ideal is apparently a mix between the images in the picture and the process. The aesthetic ideal is primarily conceptual and is perceived through image and not word.

Goldfarb’s dialectical transitions between the image and the concept, between intellect and senses, take on an additional dimension as a result of one main component in her paintings: their characteristic rich use of materials. In the context of the aesthetic ideal, the materiality of the images plays a developing role in the shaping of the accompanying concept. Insofar as the artist compresses the material into a more successful composition, then her conceptual message becomes clearer and stronger. In an almost magical step, the infinite play manifested in the material contributes and augments, empowering the effectiveness of the message’s transmission.

The artist guides and controls the development of the artwork as a happening, whose actors are the brushwork, the spatula and the casting of the paint as a stance and as abstract possibilities in the old/new and renewed painting field. Between liberty and enclosure, emotional and intellectual, open and closed, we encounter the subjective and objective. Kant said that as long as the image and the concept fit each other, mutual dialectic enrichment will continue to exist. In other words, in good cases we can continue to see new things every time that we encounter an aesthetic ideal as a good creative work of “fine art”, as moral and good art.

The artist conducts a conceptual investigation of the means of painting, used to impart a sensory experience to the observer. The observer should take the same path; they should use their imagination and decipher the aggregate strengths to reveal what is present within what is hidden.

The syntax of the material is piled up into fields of color, appearing like documents that seem to be creating mother earth’s narrative literature, theories and anecdotes; sometimes paintings appear to be cinema screens and computer screens; Golfarb divides up framed units and uses concrete dramatization. The shaping of the image leads us to look beyond the layers of material and to distinguish the underlying layers of free paint, peeping out from behind the bars of worlds forbidden to entry, but exposed to the curious eye. The transition from the image to the concept is a central axis in the paintings of Haviva Goldfarb, which are substantially “on the edge”.

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