You might say that Lambertville artist John Goodyear is an explorer of juxtaposition. His artistic quest has often involved the uncovering of relationships between two apparently disjunctive entities, for example, sculpture and light, painting and motion, or sculpture and architecture. As he observes in the catalog for his current exhibition, "The Elemental Series," at the Rider University Art Gallery: "Creating is probably not much more than seeing something in a new context or finding a new use for something. There may not be anything new on earth, but there are new relationships." Goodyear gives a public talk on Saturday, September 29, in the Sweigart Hall auditorium at Rider’s business school.
In the exhibit Goodyear takes a distinctive approach to the relationship between a subject and its raw materials, one example being a self-portrait he made out of his own nail clippings. Another is a three-dimensional cucumber made from pressed and dried cucumbers. Goodyear suggests that visitors to this show let the unusual connection between subject and medium raise questions – not about the formal artistic elements of his work but about the nature of art and how it is created.
Goodyear talks about the "disjointed moves" in his work through the years; as he has switched medium and focus, the idea of relationship pervades his artistic production. But his questioning has led him through different art forms including drawing, painting, sculpture, and even installations. His changes in direction, he says, grow either out of his work itself or as a response to outside experience.
Early on in his career, about 1965, Goodyear developed lighted pieces, using light boxes, of which there is one example in the current show. He thus started to muse about heat, an incidental by-product of the light, and he decided he wanted to "take the idea out of its context" and put it in another conext. While at MIT for a year, as part of a program to humanize the scientific environment, he used scientific techniques to create heated sculptures. These were made to be touched; the viewer/toucher might feel an arc of heat moving across a square panel or go through a series of steps and feel increased warmth or coolness. His light box technique can be seen in the current show in the piece titled "Sun," in which Goodyear took an old light box and made a "new face," which represents the sun, whose medium of course is light.
Also during this period he had some of his first experiences creating art from its own materials. He passed out sweat pads to students at an art conference, collected the pads, and had them heated. "I distilled a drop of water made of sweat, and the work represents 40 states," he says. "People are the subject, and sweat is part of them."
Watching the blast-off for a 1972 lunar mission at Cape Canaveral inspired a series that Goodyear worked on for many years following, called "The Earth Curve." He had people lying down on panels and sculptures, approximating the angle they would be at if they were standing up straight elsewhere in the world. The idea behind these pieces, which he created throughout the world from Canada to South America to Singapore, was "to get a sense of how big the world was and how people relate to the world."
While he was spending a semester teaching in Paris in 1983, he says, he would wander around the Louvre, thinking about setting the pictures in motion, prompting his idea of "showing movement of pictorial things." He wonders whether television may also have been an influence: "People were watching TV all the time and paintings seemed a little inert." His solution was to set up a grid suspended from above that moves back and forth in front of the canvas, giving the illusion of movement. Two examples of this approach can be seen in the current show, in the pieces titled "Sun" (mentioned earlier) and "Pencil Drawing."
Goodyear grew up in Los Angeles, and after his father, who was trained as an engineer but worked as a plumber during the Depression, died at age 41, he moved with his mother, who was a teacher, and two sisters to Grosse Ile, Michigan, to live with his maternal grandparents. He studied art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (the alma mater of both his parents, his grandfather, and his future wife) on full scholarship, where he graduated with a master of design degree in 1954. He served for two years in the U.S. Army in Japan. Upon his return he did some reading in Zen Buddhism, which he says increased his awareness and encouraged him to take risks as an artist. He was an instructor at the University of Michigan, Grand Rapids, for six years and at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for two years. From 1964 through 1997, Goodyear was a professor of art and chairperson at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Another stage of his development was initiated with an invitation in 1980 to compete for a public sculpture for the Forensic Science Institute in Newark. He was given the commission and created a 50-foot-long work based on the death of Socrates, also the subject of a painting by late-19th-century artist Jacques Louis David, whose work Goodyear had seen at the Princeton University Art Museum. He says his father’s death when he was fairly young was something he never really got over, and may have been the motivation for his interest in the death of Socrates.
Doing public sculpture created a whole new set of relationships between his work and its architectural context. In a public sculpture he carved in relief on the outer walls of the Jewish Center in Princeton, called "Miriam at the Well," which Goodyear says harks back to the biblical Land of Israel, he included a sculpture pot actually made in Israel. This material, he says, is part of the subject of the piece.
Through drawings and paintings Goodyear has also explored the relationship between two pieces of art work created by artists who both symbolized the beginning of the modern period. One is the Jacques Louis David painting mentioned earlier and the other is "Luncheon on the Grass," by Edouard Manet, a piece that J. Seward Johnson recreated in sculpture at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton. These drawings and paintings, in which he "forced two works into relationship," appear on his web site, www.johngoodyear.com.
"The Elemental Series" exhibit grew not only out of his long-term work in exploring relationships, but also out of an attempt to make his work more objective by using some of the actual material of the subject. A tree installation, 12 feet long and 10 feet wide, is made out of wood, branches, twigs, and leaves. A drawing of a burnt tree was created with charcoal. "The charcoal is burned wood, and the paper is highly processed wood," says Goodyear. The exhibition also features a snake made from snakeskin, a chicken from egg shells, and an egg from feathers. At the opening reception on September 22, there was a cow made out of cheese that people could eat.
The exhibition also features work fashioned from found objects. At the Portobello Flea Market in London Goodyear found an elephant made out of ivory. Another day, in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens, he was walking by the palace when someone was installing a large pipe. The workman bored out a piece of limestone and threw it in the trash, and Goodyear pocketed it. "I didn’t know why I did that," he says. "I guess as a souvenir." But when he brought it home, he asked his grandson, a stone carver who lives in France, to carve it into an
image of the palace.
Goodyear’s first solo show was in New York City in 1964, and he has participated in many individual and group exhibitions since, and has also curated some shows. In 2000 he had a retrospective show at the James A. Michener Museum. His works are included in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., as well as 50 other public collections worldwide including England, France, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland.
The Rider exhibition is at once an expression of themes that have characterized his lifetime work and a new approach to the relationship between art and its context or medium. In Goodyear’s words, quoted on the website of the James A. Michener Art Museum: "One’s art helps create a responsiveness to life experiences. The peculiar process of art in which ideas and experiences are made tangible in materials makes a mutation, something which is both idea and thing. The cycle keeps repeating; art makes one see, what one sees makes art."
"The Elemental Series." Artist John Goodyear gives a public talk on his current exhibit on Thursday, September 29, at 7 p.m., Sweigart Hall Auditorium, Room 115, in the College of Business Administration, Rider University, Lawrenceville. Show continues through Thursday, October 20 at the Rider University Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. 609-895-5588.
CAPPS, Mariboe Gallery, Peddie School, Hightstown, 609-490-7550. www.peddie.org/capps. Exhibit by artist Michael Maxwell, director of visual art at Peddie School. On view through October 14. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hopewell Frame Shop Gallery, 24 West Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-466-0817. Taylor Oughton works of art and illustrations. His work has been featured in Field and Stream, Holiday, Outdoor Life, Saturday Evening Post, the Boy Scout Handbook, and Cosmopolitan. He has designed at the Franklin Mint and for Lenox Collectibles. Through October 29. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Montgomery Center for the Arts, 124 Montgomery Road, Skillman, 609-921-3272. 36th Annual Garden State Watercolor Society. Show continues to October 23. Opening reception is Sunday, October 9, 2 to 4 p.m. Award presentation at 3 p.m. Demonstration on Friday, October 14. Free. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.
Professor I-Hsiung Ju’s Painting Studio, 35 Sycamore Place, Kingston, 609-430-1887. www.ihsiungju.addr.com. Exhibition of Chinese brush paintings of bamboo, lotus, peonies, grape vines, geese, red-headed cranes, shrimps, rooster, and pandas, created by Ping-Hsian Chuan, Anna Tang Hu, Sun Chueh Kao, Kyung-Ah Kim, Linda Schultz, and Yi Tier Yang. On view through October 9.
Gallery hours are Sunday to Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Small World Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-4377. "Celebration of River Towns," a photographic show by Robert DeChico. Through October 4. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Toad Hall Shop & Gallery, 14 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-586-2366. "Vessels," featuring metal sculptures by Rory Mahon and Catherine Perry, on view from October 1 to December 31. A reception, open to the public, will be held on Saturday, October 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. Also, four studio editions by renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly, on view through February, 2006. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
University Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street, 609-497-4069. Exhibit of watercolors by Sandra Nusblatt. Her works feature paintings of residences, historic buildings, landscapes, and flowers. On view to November 16. A portion of the proceeds from the show benefit the establishment of a new community Breast Health Center. Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206. "The Watercolor Zoo," an collection of watercolors of impressions and memories of going to the zoo by New Hope artist, Edward Adams. A painter and sculpture, he has a master’s degree in education and doctorate in psychology. On view through October 3. Gallery is open by appointment during school hours.
College of New Jersey, Holman Hall, Ewing, 609-771-2368. Art faculty exhibition featuring works inspired by Whitman’s "Leaves of Grass." On view through October 19. Free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday evenings, 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 3 p.m.
Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20 Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Birds, Birds, Birds," a watercolor exhibit by painter Dallas Piotrowski. On view through October 21. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. Medieval, Renaissance, and baroque galleries are open. "Picturesque Imaginings: Defining the Photographic within Nineteenth-Century European Visual Culture," an exhibit that explores complex changes that took place when early photographers drew upon the visual conventions of past art. Through October 30. The museum’s galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Tours are given on Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Art by the River
Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511. "Nature’s Dancers," featuring photos by Martha Weintraub; and "Shadows," photos by Jay Goodkind. On view through October 9. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Harrison Street Gallery, 108 Harrison Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-0062. Exhibit of works by James Feehan, Gloria Kosco, Susan Roseman, and Mimi Strang. On view through October 30. Gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
James A. Michener Art Museum, Union Square Complex, Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-340-9800. New Hope satellite facility opens with the relocation of the popular, interactive multi-media show, "Creative Bucks County: A Celebration of Art and Artists," featuring 19th and 20th century painters, writers, composers, and playwrights. Permanent exhibit. Museum admission $6 adults; $2 youth. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Also, "Objects of Desire," a treasures from private collections featuring paintings by William Lathrop, Edward W. Redfield, Daniel Garber, Charles Ramsey; furniture by George Nakashima and Paul Evans; and photographs by Emmet Gowin and Michael A. Smith. On view through January 15.
MGP Studio Arts Gallery, 430 Union Square, New Hope, 215-862-9690. "Anatomy of a Landscape, the gallery’s inaugural exhibit featuring watercolors by Elza Dima, non-silver prints by Sarah Van Keuren, handmade paper by Elizabeth Mackie, monotypes and handmade paper by Maria G. Pisano, and lithographs by Kathy Liontas Warren. Through October 8. Gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Peggy Lewis Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street, 609-397-0275. "Abstracts and Animals," a two-person show with works of mostly monotypes by Nancy H. Mills and pastel paintings of animals by Brenda Jones. On view through October 14. Gallery open Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Art In Trenton
Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436. "Dream, Africa," a multiple media exhibition featuring paintings by Nancie Gunkelman, photographs by Diane Levell, and sculpture by J.C. Sarpong. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Gallery on Lafayette, 46 West Lafayette, Trenton, 609-695-0061. "Kate Graves, Portraits and Sculpture." On view through October 10. Reception is Friday, September 30, 5:30 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-393-8998. "Eye of the Storm," the fall juried art exhibit of works by 33 artists working in a broad range of media and styles. The Trenton Downtown Association will donate 10% of sales to American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. On view through November 4. Hours are Tuesday to Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. "Leaving the Canvas," a shared show by Susan Hogan, Joan Needham, and Jen Signell. Lecture on Friday, October 14, 6 p.m. On view through November 6. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.
"Preserving Our Past: An Inspiring Exhibit Honoring Those Who Chronicle Our Heritage," features photography by Peter C. Cook, drawings by Howard Siskowitz, and essays by Gregory Smith. The exhibit is in conjunction with August Wilson’s "Gem of the Ocean" at McCarter Theater. On view through January 22. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.