Cornelius Sullivan Gallery, Gloucester MA 2016
We decided to have a closing celebration for the exhibition of Neta Goren at the Cornelius Sullivan Gallery, on Rocky Neck because of some surprising successes. The appreciation of the paintings themselves, the excellent review in the Gloucester Times by Gail McCarthy, and the revelation that there were poems written about the paintings.
Neta and I had talked about painting for a number of years and we talked about the San Francisco Bay figurative artists. We understood that in the 1960’s they wanted to have all the excitement that the abstract expressionists were having in NY, but they were committed to keeping the figure.
I had always thought that that was what Neta was doing in her paintings. To be more precise about it, she had found her own way to combine not only “the figure” but portraiture, and place it in a made-up space that she created. She did not use thick paints like David Parks, who with his luscious color, was a precursor to Philip Guston, who was known for this thick paint with blacks and grays.
She was different in temperament from Richard Diebenkorn, whose figures were presented interwoven with Matisse like flat geometry. She was more like the mysterious Bay Area painter, Nathan Olivera, whose figures were effervescent and dream like.
What she has done in her recent paintings is place well drawn figures in a transcendent cloud-like space, a particular creation of her own invention. It was astounding to see the vocabulary used in the poems written after the paintings because they described this particular space.
It is not usual to find this synchronicity between paintings and poetry, working so seamlessly and beautifully.
Cornelius Edmund Sullivan
Apollo Rising | Shahar Bram
My body ascends with the sun,
my mind shatters the celestial sphere,
reflections disseminate, shades unfold, still
rising, no frame can stop me,
a shooting star rebels against gravity,
a force of grace against a world sagging.
Out of colorless depths
have I summoned thee
Lord of light, Master of life,
now transfigured I realize
your face is our heavenly body.
The Geographer | Shahar Bram
A Terra Incognita.
But I was summoned to its secret ceremony.
I am alone now. Locked in my cell a vision flares,
a shining body rises in the celestial dark,
I see a vivid image of the land I love:
defined but limitless,
the silky slopes, the curving crests,
the lovely valleys where I had lost my way...
a bliss that forged my self –
My job is to portray but no map can display
creation's bursting beauty, the lines of grace,
the saturated, transubstantiated mind
that celebrated mortal knowledge.
If only I could touch right now this holy soil –
afar from her New World,
is like a wave without a shore.
My drawings fly from famished fingers,
from a thirsty heart my colors flow
a form like flower blooms, uprooted,
I am alone, and bodiless
Thinking of you
while you are there
across the long gaze
that seeks the other side
of the studio
I see my thoughts
I can’t see you
I’m in my way
is learning to be
out of the studio
of the self
there you are
where the angels are
waiting for me
empty my thoughts
and blind my mind
and let me see at last
Friends | Shahar Bram
Like ancient kings in funeral boats
we shouldered our dead out to sea.
Unshielded we stood while carried away
by wind and tide were our words.
Unvoiced reflections lost their color and pride.
Stained by a formless, descending sun,
which I could never imagine,
the water mirrored my mind.
And the darkening blue of the deep
filled my body, and I grew
with disgrace at my hefty hands,
and against a world washed with thoughts
stood a stranger wearing my face.
Thacher Island | Shahar Bram
Framed against the tinted void
a haunted hull is searching directions;
the life of this breathing ship
is throbbing with strokes of absence.
Can you feel the violet hand stirring the air?
Do you hear the voice calling come back?
Can you still make out the failed lights,
two fading marks in the distance?
Don’t you see, only care
can shape such seascape of longing despair,
where in its hull, sailing the ocean of Time,
the frail soul fights abstraction.
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