Anderson - Soule Gallery Show January 2006

July August Issue Art New England:


By Robert R. Craven

Charlie Goodwin's new works are a departure from his previous object-oriented paintings. Although over the years these have incorporated abstract elements, the current exhibition is nonobjective, in a vocabulary combining elements of gestural and color-field abstraction.

Energetic and rhythmic, these color compositions are built from marks consisting of small colored circles with contrasting circles in their centers, creating rings like multicolored Cheerios layered one over another, They gather into shifting and interacting masses of color. The rings are frequently applied heavily, even in impasto. Scattered about the field in a seemingly improvisational way, they suggest the range of responses we associate with jazz, from hot to cool.

In some of these works, such as Random (oil on panel, 48 x 46"), the profusion of color develops an organic rhythm that leads the eye not only from region to region but into pictorial depth as well. Others display restrained yet still jubilant palettes. In Myriad (oil on panel, 48 x 24"), for example, the joyful yellow circles ebb and flow, gathering in some places and dispersing in others. The mesmerizing effect provokes both intellectual and emotional responses.

Sometimes there is the urge to read the field as a ring garden or to create other objective correlates, but in the end these paintings are about paint, color, the coalescence of form, and our responses. Yet other compositions carry muted color relationships. Scrapple (oil on panel, 44 x 48") subtly shifts across the entire spectrum in unsaturated tones suggesting more subdued states of mind. Parable (oil on panel, 30 x54 x 1") is the coolest of the lot, leading us from grays and unsaturated greens through variously dour ochres. Goodwin clearly enjoys these forays into pure expression, and he is not alone.