While today’s world increasingly resembles The Disasters of War by Spanish painter Francisco Goya, New York-born, Miami-based artist Lynne Golob Gelfman’s quiet, minimalist paintings are like a poultice for the soul, soothing our eyes. “Lynne Gelfman combines the intellectual concern and rigor of minimalism with a unique interest in pattern and process,” says Tobias Ostrander, head curator of Perez Art Museum Miami and longtime Gelfman champion. Ostrander is also organizing an exhibition showcasing Gelfman’s remarkable minimalist abstractions for Art Basel Miami Beach next year.
“sometimes random,” currently on view at Marisa Newman Projects in New York until November 10, is located in a snug Korean K-Town space, nestled above gaudy karaoke bars and kimchi joints. There, among the man-made chaos of New York City, Gelfman’s keenly observed paintings offer an oasis reflecting traces of nature, working in her signature, unique “in verso”process. The new series of nine paintings create a continuum of her earlier grid based paintings, work she began in New York in the 1960s. The added element of the continuum of time, 1960s to now, add heft to Gelfman’s grid, now softened by the light, clouds and water elements of Miami.
The artist’s studio is like a lush tropical garden featuring rare tropical plants, including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. It almost feels like an annex of the nearby 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Garden. Gelfman, a self-described trickster spends most days submerged in paint and nature. Gelfman is currently also busy with a monograph in association with Natalia Zuluaga, the artistic director of ArtCenter/South Florida who co-runs [NAME] Publications, a nonprofit art book press in Miami.
For “sometimes random,” the series of nine canvases reference Gelfman’s New York series thru, and signal the comfort and confidence of an artist who has mastered her medium. The “in verso” technique she developed (using oil paint and dish soap) to create bleached-out color on the reverse side of the canvas offer the artist’s expression of the Miami landscape. It also suggests a vulnerability to the sometimes randomness of paint seeping through from the other side of the canvas to create abstractions that explore the play between structure and chance.