Life Death and All That Jazz
BY SUVAN GEER
Excerpted from the Exhibition Catalog for Flower as Metaphor / Flower as Motif, Wignall Museum, Chaffey College
There is an edgy psychological discomfort about this merger of human and plant. Where O’Keeffe or Chicago merely alluded to the human body Goldmark now willfully denies the allusion its inherent intellectual distance. The result is a less romantic, strangely more pragmatic encounter with mortality. One punctuated with a broader emotional identification with all life. It’s not surprising to learn that the artist is currently drawing from cadavers at a local medical school. The immediacy of that kind of direct confrontation with mortal remains hardly breeds romance. Yet her graphite drawings of the flayed, open bodies are not without beauty, fragility or poetry. But, like her corporal flowers, there is nothing maudlin about their physical remains.
By uniting the vibrancy of flowers in their fully-charged glory with detached, bodily organs the artist peels back the metaphor of nature’s cycles to get a better look at the allusion. The resulting poetry, with its typically postmodern delight in exposing how the semiotics of sign and symbol work, is a stronger (dare I say gutsier?) comment on the human experience of life wedded to death.