Berthold GoldschmidtFrom the series Artists and MusiciansFrom the series Artists and MusiciansFrom the series Artists and Musicians
Head,conte,Self, oil and collageHead,conte
Winter Street for CaillebotteTheater of the Last Winter RideCape May Memory,
No ExitNo ExitThe Path of Night at the Ocean's Edge
Summer Space XVIIISummer Space XVIIBathers I, intaglio
Summer Space III, monotype
It was with the Goya "Disasters of War", my discovery at the Prado in 1965, that I realized that figure drawing could be a far more demanding venture than I had yet understood, an inspiration to hold above me. Those remarkable etchings were visual shocks created by a higher intelligence. I doubt that any of Goya's narratives had been keenly detected by this undergraduate trained to search for abstraction "unsullied by the illustrative". It was only as a graduate student frequenting reserve print collections that I was able to wed Goya's compositions with his message.

In 1969 I began the unsuccessful pursuit of multiple figures, always returning to the profundity of the head, the solo portrait. Over succeeding years, the struggle to assemble a congregation of bodies became more important, more natural. The "Bathers", begun in 1974, were worked abstractly en plein air with trees, bushes and water bodies, sources surrounding me. These were then brought into my studio and transformed into figure groups. They were my first true inventions, "leaving room" and departing from severe observation. I carried these bathers into the '80s with the "Verona Hill Pond" series of bathers from life and later the Lake Superior swimmers, canvases and monotypes built from images harvested while my son was contending for himself in water. For these I had gathered my personal photos and adjoined gestures of those youth entering the water with the stationary armatures of elder figures. Everything began at the water's edge and sought the future.

In 1984 the "No Exit" series grew with juxtapositionings aided by Muybridge's serial photos of figures in motion. Caught in their black rectangles, the models appeared to be accepting imprisonment in locked enclosures. The figures I added were unaware of anyone else, all trapped within their confines. At least three hundred images, beginning also with life drawings that led to numerous monotypes, paintings and an etched series provided, several years of challenge and endless lessons.

The frugal repasts and conversations of the mid 1990s were the last series of multiple figures to date. These gesture drawings and monotypes, each composed of four or five figures, arrived spontaneously and naturally, having begun with portraits of friends and family. Now in 2014, in the midst of my intense occupation with landscape sites, I continue to return to the single figure in a different manner. In March, 2013, I began my first series of clay sculptures. Though singular in their attitudes and separable from their groups, I nonetheless designed their gestures as interactive. I will continue these assemblages through 2015 and hope to alternate the 3D figure groupings also to be used in monotype compositions which will alter in meaning by way of the modifications.

Biography