Brenda Goodman

In a New Space

September 8th, 2017 – October 1st, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th, 6pm–9pm


Brenda Goodman “Hidden Memories” (2017, oil on wood, 32″ x 28″)

Brenda Goodman “Hidden Memories” (2017, oil on wood, 32″ x 28″)


DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary is proud to present In a New Space, a solo exhibition of Brenda Goodman’s paintings and works on paper, opening September 8th and running through October 1st.

Brenda Goodman has committed her life to painting for five decades. Her practice is without compromise; “answers“ are discovered through a wide-open combination of processes driven by intuition. Starting with an obsessive incising of lines, moving back and forth with flat wide expanses of brushed oil paint and a wide-ranging use of material, she “draws“ within the painting, until what she needs to say emerges from the surface itself. Working between scale shifts from the intimate (6” x 8” works on paper) to large paintings on wood  (greater than 7’ high), all are of equal power and resolution. Her mastery of an innovative use of materials and vivid colors, create works of deeply personal narratives that bend the languages of abstraction and figuration. These are profoundly  moving works filled with mystery, passion and great beauty.

Over the last ten years, Goodman’s growing critical acclaim and increased exposure in exhibitions, both in institutions and galleries, has brought a wider audience to her work and has garnered respect and influence among painters that span generations.

The title for this exhibition has multiple readings, much like Brenda’s work. The most obvious refers to her new, spacious studio, filled with light and calm, the studio Goodman always dreamed of, and now the one in which she works daily.

A second read of the show’s title refers to a wider degree of openness in the new work. While continuing the dance between abstraction and figuration found in her previous decade of works, the new pieces move away from a more direct narrative to a more abstract, open language about painting itself. This “lighter” direction reflects how Goodman’s life and space have changed. While this tightrope between abstraction and figuration is still being walked in this latest body of work, much of the angst evident in some of her earlier paintings seems replaced by a revelation of freedom and confidence – in herself and in her practice of painting.  A truly great painter is one who persists in taking risks and in expanding her vocabulary, even when she has arrived on center stage, as Goodman surely has. By these measures, these latest works prove her greatness. At the heart of Goodman’s practice has always been the uncompromising honesty with which she tells us about her life, an approach always in service of finding truth.

In 2015 Goodman had a 50-year retrospective at Detroit’s Center Galleries at the College for Creative Studies, which this year bestowed upon her an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Goodman has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Exceptional Achievement.

Goodman most recently has had solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, NADA-NY, Paul Kotula Projects, and Life On Mars Gallery. Throughout her career, she has had over 38 one-artist exhibitions at numerous galleries throughout the country, including John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY), Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Howard Scott Gallery and Pam Adler Gallery (New York City), Nielsen Gallery (Boston), Revolution Gallery (Ferndale, MI), Marianne-Deson Gallery and Phyllis Kind (Chicago).

Her work has been exhibited in more than 170 group shows, most notably in New York City at The Whitney Biennale, The New Museum, Edward Thorp Gallery, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, and throughout the US at Nielsen Gallery (Boston), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (Ridgefield, CT), the Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH), and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (NY).

Goodman’s paintings are found in the The Agnes Gund Collection, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and the Birmingham Museum of Art, among numerous other private and public collections.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Thomas Micchelli:
[Link to Catalogue]



Len Bellinger
thugs, miscreants, and recent extractions


In our Project Space, concurrent with Brenda Goodman’s exhibition, we will be presenting a series of intimate works by Len Bellinger in advance of his one-person show in our main space scheduled for Spring 2018.

Grace Glueck, in The New York Times, has written of Bellinger’s work, “Taking off from the overall schemes of Renaissance altarpieces, Len Bellinger builds up heavily textured architectural paintings that have a feeling of sculptural mass. While retaining echoes of the original forms – faint, arching shapes and linear paneling – Bellinger reworks the altarpieces into very contemporary explorations of light and color…their evident link to the past intensifies the calm strength of these meditative paintings.”

In his search for personal structure over 40 years working over reproductions culled from a wide assortment of art history books and magazines, the early ‘repro’ drawings looked to extract, isolate and incorporate those specific elements of each reproduction that, in their own unique way, managed to introduce some unifying geometry to the mix…repetitive arches, shaped altarpiece panels, etc.  Surrounded by the imagery of Catholicism from his early education, this abstraction of early iconic Christian imagery served and serves today as Bellingers’s bridge to a secular spirituality.  In the more recent ‘repro’ paintings and works on paper, Bellinger has expanded his choice of selected imagery to deal with more personal and humanistic source materials rather than a more direct “quoting” of art history and religious iconography.  In these works additional references include cosmology and forms crucial to human evolution embracing both the sacred and profane – with an organic geometry serving as the bridge between the two.

Bellinger’s almost half-century practice has been committed to the exploration of abstract/non-representational painting and the ambiguous space inherent in the concept of ‘abstraction.’ From early icon-shaped minimalist panels trimmed with gold leaf as a P.S.1 studio resident in the late ’70’s, to thickly manipulated paintings rich with byzantine color, the underlying architectonic structure found in his current works is evidence that Bellinger’s practice is rooted in a love of cosmology and art history. Visceral and complex, these wild combinations are anchored by the shaped formats Bellinger creates, revealing their essence, what has been lost and what remains, never wavering or compromising. In relative seclusion and anonymity Bellinger’s work has the freshness borne out of a desperate search for meaning and the authentic – a more meaningful statement as we close the second decade of the 21st century- in the age of meta mis-information.



Len Bellinger “thug” (2017, oil, acrylic, plaster, staples, archival glue, collage on repro mounted on wood, 19.5" x 17")

Len Bellinger “thug” (2017, oil, acrylic, plaster, staples, archival glue, collage on repro mounted on wood, 19.5″ x 17″)