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Gail Goldsmith: Pieces from Lifetime

Sep 10 - Oct 18, 2020

Installation View of Gail Goldsmith: Pieces from Lifetime Courtesy © SHIN GALLERY

Gail Goldsmith
Shin Gallery is pleased to present a more than 60-year retrospective of clay sculpture by Gail Goldsmith (b.1934). Sculpting since the late 1940s, the immersive exhibition aims to recreate Goldsmith's studio and explore the artist’s unparalleled techniques with clay. Playful, vulnerable, and evoking a melancholic yearning, the artist’s work is an embodiment of individuals closest to her. Through odd children’s toys, plaster molds of family or friends faces, and abstracted figures, Goldsmith’s sculptures contain intimate stories intertwined with her life experiences. The show will be on view in our new gallery space at 322 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002.

Earning a BFA from Denver University in 1955 and an MFA at Cranbrook Academy in Michigan in 1958, Goldsmith anticipated on becoming an abstract expressionist painter much like her contemporaries and close friends Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof. Yet after minoring in sculpture at Cranbrook, Goldsmith was gripped by the practice and found that sculpting best suited her ideals. “I realized I liked sculpting better. It came naturally to me,” Goldsmith states.

The selected works in the exhibition were each formed in response to a particular period in Goldsmith’s life. For instance, “Oversized Shoe” is a molding of her husband’s boots. His unexpected suicide led to the creation of sculpting ordinary household objects with the use of plaster molds. The mundane pieces carry a heavy burden and reflect a suppressed sentiment.

Other works in the exhibition such as “Socrates Aunt”, include moldings of human faces atop abnormal bodies. The faces are casted from the artist’s family and friends, which all delve into past memories and moments in time. When placed into the kiln, the moldings of each individual’s face slightly shrink or widen, transfiguring the final image. The result embodies unique exposed forms that emulate singular identities.

The works enigmatic presence is heightened by Goldsmith’s unconventional staining technique. Once a clay form is sculpted and dried, different oxide mixes are layered and painted on top of one another. The clay work is then fired into a kiln – thus revealing the dense planes that have been cracked, curved, or twisted in the process. As Goldsmith states, “It’s like dancing. It’s body memory. You push and you pull.”

Although the work’s rough appearance is evident, beneath the thick clay slabs present a strange psychological reflection through the eyes of a family member or texturized pattern on an apron. The sensation is perhaps both contained and exposed, leaving the viewer lingering for more.

Gail Goldsmith (b.1934) has exhibited at The New Bedford Museum, The Figure in Clay and Fiber, 1997; Socrates Sculpture Center, All That is Solid, 1998 – 1999; Sinclair College, Dayton Ohio, 1999; New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, Gail Goldsmith: Sculpture, 2011. Goldsmith has a permanent installation at Sacred Labyrinth, Block Island, Rhode Island, Brothers and Sisters All.

For press inquires, contact Stavroula Coulianidis: stavroula@shin-gallery.com