Pre­view: Jen­nifer Good­man, by Ted Snell


JEN­NIFER GOOD­MAN REFERS con­stantly to the prin­ci­ples of har­mony, balance, ge­om­e­try, sta­bil­ity, struc­ture, sym­me­try and asym­me­try. They are the foun­da­tion that un­der­pins her prac­tice. In the past this dance with equi­lib­rium was played out within the struc­ture of the grid, but since her 2010 ex­hi­bi­tion, Ocu­lar Spec­tra, she has dis­man­tled that stylish ge­om­e­try and fab­ri­cated a space in which arabesques loop el­e­gantly. Cap­tured within the strict rect­an­gu­lar frame of the can­vas, this ex­plo­ration of pic­to­rial space ex­tends end­lessly in a par­al­lel uni­verse of non-ref­er­en­tial, ab­stract me­an­der­ing. At first her re­cent paint­ings seem like a com­plete break, a rup­ture with a pre­vi­ously sta­ble world and head­long en­try into one in which forms play with each other, lock and un­cou­ple, find their place then shift, never to fix rigidly. If Piet Mon­drian and Theo van Does­burg could split ir­re­versibly over the in­tro­duc­tion of a di­ag­o­nal into the strict ge­om­e­try of the grid, how must the Jen­nifer Good­man of the geo­met­ric works come to terms with her arabesque self? How­ever, in truth there is much that links these bod­ies of work, and while the con­tain­ing ge­om­e­try has re­ceded into pic­to­rial space, its or­gan­is­ing prin­ci­ples re­main. The same fresh­ness and en­ergy that in­formed those ear­lier works is still ev­i­dent and her metic­u­lously and me­thod­i­cally painted works re­tain a vi­brancy that be­lies their long ges­ta­tion and fab­ri­ca­tion. I have a pas­sion, she says, “to mix all my colours in or­der that they be specif­i­cally emo­tion­ally and idio­syn­crat­i­cally mine”. This is the mo­ment of recog­ni­tion and ac­quain­tance when the fam­ily re­sem­blance in­fil­trates and the re­la­tion­ships be­come clear. Like sib­lings with dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties and char­ac­ter­is­tics, their DNA is slowly re­vealed af­ter a con­sid­ered en­gage­ment of any of these new works. We come to see their sim­i­lar idio­syn­cra­sies, their com­mon traits, their nu­anced har­monies and in myr­iad ways we come to un­der­stand their ge­netic struc­ture. Col­lage is the “for­mal think­ing de­vice” that has pro­vided the cat­a­lyst for this evo­lu­tion. Cut­ting into coloured paper has en­abled

Jen­nifer Good­man’s leap into the open­ness and ex­pan­sive­ness of this new pic­to­rial ven­ture is in­dica­tive of a height­ened level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal dex­ter­ity.

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