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Raphaëlle Goethals: The Memory of Persistence - 3D virtual exhibition by Turner Carroll Gallery

Raphaëlle Goethals: The Memory of Persistence

Fri, 07/17/2020 to Sun, 09/06/2020

curated by:

“I was never interested in the entertainment, the theatrical, or political side of art. It is how art can deeply affect us emotionally that fascinates me.”

Raphaelle Goethals’ practice comes from a desire for larger truths, a search for the timeless and the infinite, and a cultivation of both devotion and humanism. Through her process, she allows her psyche to drift into a deeply instinctual place where each body of work, each painting, and each mark or gesture advances from the one preceding, developing intuitively within a framework of layered content and coded vocabulary. “My internal language of mark-making evolved from my early interest in the semiotic, the study of signs and symbols and how we assign them meaning. This is where I am called to search for the sublime,” says Goethals.

The evolution of this body of work led to several key developments. The conceptual exploration of transforming micro to macro and breaking away from the conventional rectilinear canvas is evident in one of the cornerstones of the exhibition: Séléné. The circular form, once only used by Goethals as an anchoring mechanism, has no beginning or end, no straight angle; it is the suggestion of space and our place in the cosmos. Séléné takes on this round format, a new direction for Goethals, one that allowed her to explore on a detailed level the same shape that she had previously used to create subtle grid structures within her paintings. Taking this form to the macro level allows the viewer to dive into a painting such as Séléné the same way we can allow our imagination to sink into infinite space itself.

Two of the largest works in this series are profoundly immersive. Waimoku, inspired by the Waimoku Falls, a majestic waterfall situated at the head of Ohe’o Gulch in Maui, Hawaii, captures the atmospheric mist, cascading movement, and the raw force of nature in a freshly liberated, more painterly style. Eidolon is Goethals’ largest work to date, and was the initial painting that spurred this current direction. At nearly ten feet wide, this tour de force work, in an engulfing panorama, abundantly illustrates the artists mastery of composition and her recent aesthetic advancements.

Raphaelle’s early influences originate not only from the devotional painting of Flemish Masters but also with painters such as Per Kirkeby and Lucian Freud. Post-minimalist artists like Eva Hesse and Wolfgang Laib also fed her creative impulse in their exploration of materials and forms, moving away from revealing the “hand” of the artist in the artwork.

The Memory of Persistence reflects years of developing and perfecting Raphalle’s unique vision and history—a history that began for her as a bold, expressionist painter. It took decades for Goethals to distill and to circle back to embrace her beginnings as a painter of movement, space, and energy. This series presents a highly mature, more sensitive, and meaningful manifestation. IT captures the essence of swirling cosmic dust clouds in a feathery application layered over the previously tranquil, meditative surfaces. The result is a monumental advancement in composition, a richness of emotion, technique, and movement, where the viewer can effortlessly escape further into the depths of mystery and meaning in her works.

To fully engage in the experience of these paintings asks the viewer for a suspension of time and a suspension of belief. And, while there is nothing representational or descriptive about the work, it unfailingly acts as a portal of exploration and a familiar reflection of ourselves, our stories, and our deepest questions of human existence.

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