John Yau reviews Brenda Goodman: New Work at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through April 19, 2015.
Yau writes: "There are few contemporary artists who can make a convincing narrative painting, one that doesn’t devolve into a mere story. Brenda Goodman is one of them. Her densely packed surfaces convey a state of both claustrophobia and relentless pressure. In some paintings, the linear geometric elements define a precarious balance, a sense that everything could topple, but somehow doesn’t. According to a recent conversation I had with Goodman, she starts out by painting a network of lines on a smooth, prepared panel. She goes on from there, opening herself to the shapes evoked by the negative spaces. Painting seems to be as much a form of divination as a way to dig up painful memories, bringing into focus the difficult tremors and disturbing experiences we all deal with."