The drawings depict a variety of precariously balanced bar shapes and triangular forms in contact with one another. Drawn with graphite and burnished to a metallic sheen, these shapes are built to carry electric currents, creating a field through which high-voltage may travel among the different shapes seeking an endpoint. The electricity is unpredictable, abiding by the needs of its physics to complete a circuit. The final works, with their soot blackened areas and burn-holes in the papers’ surface, contrast Goldes’ delicate imagery and the unexpected transformations brought by energy not easily controlled.
In the artist’s previous Electro-graph series, Goldes made photographs of drawn lines arcing or bursting into flames at the moment they were connected to high-voltage. His current exhibition of work removes the distancing that the photograph always insists on, what Roland Barthes referred to as “there and then”, somewhere else and in the past. Goldes’ carefully planned, silvery drawings and the destructive force of electricity become immediate evidence of an event that happened as the work itself and testifies to the concrete life of the art object.
Displayed in the viewing room are photographs from Goldes’ Snake in the Garden series which are featured in his recently released book, Electricities. Sinuous linework created by Goldes’ electrified wires and drawn lines wrap around a Spring-like ground of spatially-ambiguous colorblocks, setting the stage for a collision of ideas and sensations. The phenomena are seen within lyrical compositions of interwoven shapes and pastel colors, evoking a pop sensibility and sense of innocence, while the surprise of bright electrical sparks emanating from drawn lines conveys a sense of hidden danger and imminent destruction. Hence, a snake in the garden: alluring, deceptive and dangerous.
David Goldes’ monograph, Electricites, was published in 2017 by Damiani (Bologna) and is available at the gallery. The artist’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, among others. Goldes received an MFA in Photography from the Visual Studies Workshop at SUNY Buffalo, an MA in Molecular Genetics from Harvard University and a BA in Biology and Chemistry from SUNY Buffalo. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bush and McKnight Foundations. Born in New York, Goldes lives and works in Minneapolis.