by Charmaine Koh
Calm, cool, and collected, Rebekah Goldstein’s shaped paintings deftly balance a number of tensions without ever losing their poise. Shifting between painting and sculpture, their overlapping abstract forms at once close in and open out onto space. Their graphic black lines and hard-edged color transitions recall Pop Art at first glance, only to bleed upon closer inspection into visible marks of the hand and snatches of free-flowing, expressionistic gesture.
Stepping into the gallery, I was instantly struck by the sense of light and space that the paintings evoked, their cool blues, greens, and barely-there yellows echoing the luminosity and openness of the coast. They seemed unmistakably products of the Bay Area or the West Coast, which is no surprise since Goldstein lives and works here. I found myself thinking of Richard Diebenkorn’s later works—his Ocean Park series in particular—and of David Hockney’s swimming pool paintings.
Yet, as I moved from painting to painting, other associations surfaced, harkening this time more to the East Coast. The bold directness of the shapes suggested Pop Art, advertising, and signage, while their geometric simplicity and juxtaposition evoked modernist design and architecture. Some paintings conjured these associations more than others—black lines against a pop of bright yellow in Just Us Gals, for example, were an overt nod to Roy Lichtenstein. While these paintings might have been born of the light and space of the West Coast, what they evoked were not uninterrupted expanses but vistas glimpsed through manmade structures—spaces of both interiority and exteriority, speaking to both the natural and the built environment.
Finally, I turned to Swift Kick (blue), the electric blue sculpture commanding the center of the room. Like the paintings, it shifts between two- and three-dimensionality, almost drawing-like in its simple composition of lines. Looking as if it should tip over yet resting utterly still upon the ground, it seemed a pithy summary of the various tensions the paintings presented and held in abeyance—a suspension of closure, and an opening instead to the play of light and space.
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Rebekah Goldstein: "See You on The Flipside” @ Cult | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions through November 17, 2018.
About the author:
Charmaine Koh is a visual artist and writer based in the Bay Area. Her interests include the mediated experience of place and belonging in postcolonial and immigrant contexts.