Friday, November 21, 2008

Night Lights - Wendy Goldberg

It isn't easy to do 'night art.' Rembrandt, perhaps, set the standard in the iconic masterpiece The Night Watch, when he evoked a dark complicated scene splashed here and there by torchlight. These days you don't find many artists who choose to set their work in the night hours. No doubt it's harder now than it was in Rembrandt's day, as we live in a time when artificial light is so pervasive that few of us know what dark really means. So consider the art of Wendy Goldberg, an artist from Fairfax in Marin County whose velvety medium is pastel on paper. Her landscapes, many as local as she is, come with a fresh, sometimes startling difference of vision, especially when she tackles the night. Shapes of trees or buildings form themselves out of shadows, dark against dark, speaking the truth of how our eyes work at night. Bright lights against the dark spark the same warm, bittersweet feeling as a lit window in a strange town. There is a rich evening color, a purple-blue just before the sky fades to black, that has always given me a sharp pang of pleasure, and there it is, one of her signature colors. The long rectangular work shown here is a new piece, done on a cold windy hill in San Rafael just before dawn. Like good poetry it suggests and cajoles rather than states a solid fact; as you watch the sky seems to shift from dark into the explosive colors of dawn. Watch for Wendy's work in local shows and open studios. Her website is