Today, we would like to share with our readers the prints of contemporary artist Eric Goldberg. Goldberg was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1946. He studied at Parsons School of Design and The New School for Social Research before receiving his BFA from New York University and his Masters from New Mexico University. Goldberg is a master printmaker working in etching and aquatint, with some of his images printed in multi-plate color. His passion for drawing can be seen in the intricate details of his works and in the subtle, complexity of his patterns.Goldberg’s work centers on human observation and interaction with their surroundings. A trend in his work is to intentionally split the viewer’s focus between two scenes- one of the public world, and one of the artist’s world. Whether split left and right or top and bottom, we are cognizant of the artist’s location at that specific moment, but also we are allowed into his world- we see what he carries with him and sometimes what his hands are holding.
This bifurcation is exaggerated through his use of color. In his representation of public spaces, human subjects and architecture alike are printed in shadowy blues and sterile grays. Shadows and the ever-present grid lines of the floors and sidewalks give structure and perspective to the surroundings, but the lack of visual contrast indicates the artist’s role of distanced observer, rather than interactive member, within this public sphere.
We sense the artist is engaged more with his private thoughts and personal items he has brought with him into this shared, public space. His own objects are awash with warmer taupes and tans; they have life-like folds and wrinkles, and seem both worn and loved at the same time. When the artist’s hands sneak into the composition, they stay within his private realm, lightly wrapped around his car’s steering wheel or quietly putting pencil to sketchpad.
Newer prints by Goldberg forgo the use of split compositions, but maintain the motif of observation. Here we see people in environments both wooded and urban, with cameras pressed to their faces. They are interacting with their surroundings, taking photographs of things around them, yet the interaction is in the singular sense of seeing, rather than touching, exploring, or communicating with things and people around them. Again, questions are raised about the artist’s (be that Goldberg or the photographers in his prints) observational role- is it one of distanced surveillance, close and active interface, or somewhere in-between?