Mark Lee Goldberg - Paintings




Goldberg has harvested a prolific and diverse body of work. Enchantingly dream-like at times, his paintings are charged with emotional resonance, rife with moody symbolism. We encounter dreamy visions of sun-dappled gardens, poetic architectural vignettes, and poignantly-carved portraits of noble, everyday characters which manifest Goldberg’s evolving stylistic technique. Essentially self-taught, Goldberg has shifted from an exacting Realism to a more liberating Impressionism. His unconventional thematic color and compositional techniques have become part of his artistic statement. In doing so he confronts us, quite literally, with the compelling message of his art. At times he poses unavoidable questions: the muscular barman’s tempting offer of a mind-bending cocktail (Margarita Bartender) or the pained look of a woman lost in a bitter-sweet reverie (Melancholy). Ultimately, be it a nude figure daring us to consider his or her non-sexual physicality, a gentle garden path tempting us to escape, the abrupt, dizzying pull into the inner, abstract jungle of a Century plant, or the hushed stillness of a pool’s surface, where a looming, sunlight-enflamed jungle red plastic ball aimlessly drifts on the water’s limpid blue skin, echoing the cool splashing of swimmers just gone. Goldberg’s paintings unlock a unique, often forceful portal view into another world.
--Max Harrold

Mark Lee Goldberg’s accessible, vibrant, and emotional “impressionistic realism” paintings are studies in light and color. For this self-taught artist, painting “full time” had been a life-long dream. Goldberg worked as a film and videotape editor for a number of years but in ’93 took a year-long sabbatical to “find his voice” as a painter. This resulted in “GARY’S GREENHOUSE AND GARDEN-1994;” a collection of 18 botanical “portraits.” Much to his surprise the exhibit sold out; Goldberg then reevaluated career goals, continuing to paint full time.

Goldberg’s approach is rooted in the conventions of photo-realism (Spanish Fountain #2, Yellow Orchids) yet more importantly these early works represent his desire to honor the memory of his 11 year partner, Gary Gleason, by portraying the plants Gary nurtured while battling AIDS. The subsequent hot, harsh, cruel summer is evoked in The Broken Pot’s jagged shards on a blindingly white wooden deck; the seedlings prematurely yanked from their soil, jarringly angled, doomed.

The subsequent series, “MEN IN SUNLIGHT-1995” marks the pinnacle of Goldberg’s photorealistic stage while themes of self-reflection, isolation, depression, and anger are explored. (Self-Portrait With Goatee, Michael, Empty Bench, Broken Pot #2

“BOTANICAL GARDENS-1996” vacillates stylistically and thematically between the photo-realistic, somber Cranky Child In Greenhouse, Child Posing In Greenhouse, and Century Plant, to the relatively uplifting Brooklyn Conservatory and Windy Lilies.

BAR PEOPLE-1997, primarily influenced by the Impressionists, represents a sharp diversion from sunlit botanicals. (Degas’ Melancholy homaged in Melancholy; Manet’s Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere inspired Blue Daiquiri and Margarita Bartender.) Girl Shooting Pool #1 and the allegory, Alter Ego, continue exploring themes of isolation, grief, and detachment, while stylistically inching away from Realism and more towards Impressionism. Edward Hopper’s themes of urban isolation and somber studies of light and shadow are also in evidence, as seen in Shirtless Bartender Yellow Awnings. Color and light, however, are celebrated in works such as Flower Corridor, Fancy Tulips, and Canal Boat #1. This period represents the dual influence of both Impressionism and Realism. (see Amsterdam Canal #2, Bouquet-Red/Yellow Tulips. Liquor Bottles.)

The next significant shift in style and subject follows a workshop in “Impression Color Theory.” BEACHBALLS, BEACHCHAIRS, & BEACH UMBRELLAS- 1999-2001 employs such techniques as the of layering colors, glazes, and an astute depiction of color temperature as he explores the relationship of light and shadow on fabric, water, and garishly colored plastic. For the first time style BECOMES content.

The provocative CONFRONTAL NUDITY-2000-04 is Goldberg’s current series of over twenty nude portraits. Each model confronts the viewer as if to say, “Yeah, I’m naked, so what? I don’t have a problem with it; you do.” Thematically, Goldberg believes this to be the most complex and ambitious to date, directly challenging to the viewer to consider personal views on art, nudity, and sexuality. Goldberg stylistically inches back towards Realism, yet with him takes the Impressionist’s tools and techniques. This series will be used as a backdrop for a theatrical play Goldberg is currently penning: “Guys Like Us.

In 2003 Goldberg returned to his primary career as a film editor and wishes to pursue filmmaking-related goals, however he still makes time to paint and actively sells gicleé prints on canvas and ceramic tile. Virtually ALL paintings are available as prints in most any size.



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