Rebekah Goldstein: Welcome Home Stranger

CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (1401 16th St., San Francisco) is pleased to announce “Welcome Home Stranger,” a solo exhibition of shaped paintings and sculptures by the San Francisco-based artist Rebekah Goldstein. On view from March 18 to May 8, 2022, this is Goldstein’s fourth show with CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions and her first solo exhibition since 2018. The gallery will release a catalog of Goldstein’s work in conjunction with the exhibition.

Rebekah Goldstein’s abstract shaped paintings and sculptures are centered around the compositional possibilities of the body and objects in space. Crafted with a spirit of metamorphosis, these assemblages interrogate their own shapes and bring to their final fixity a range of signifiers: to posture and pose, furniture and architecture. Goldstein’s work flirts with the figure, as illusionistic space glimmers through her layered processes of paint. Eschewing perfection, the artist instead describes each painted layer as assuming a new, subconscious role, guiding her forward and informing the object’s next steps. This nuanced result brings with it multiple perspectives — shifting figure and ground, advancing and receding upon the planes of color — for an object that transforms itself in response to the viewer.

The artist began her practice of creating shaped paintings after becoming a mother, as a response to the changes her own body underwent during pregnancy. In all of her works, a fundamentally personal relationship to the body is melded with an art-historical awareness of its practical applications in form, from the iconography of hand-gestures to the coded symbols of odalisque and contrapposto. In sum, these glancing allusions combine to address her grand subject of the human figure with an interrogative approach, which seeks to upend traditional conceptions of the power such forms have to alienate and normalize.

This show is curated with entirely new work, crafted throughout the past two years and under the conditions of pandemic. Working with metal, papier máchê and oil paint, Goldstein’s sculptures operate as conversational partners to her shaped paintings. The angular, gestural configurations that recur in each speak to a continuity of formal interrogation. Her sculptures sometimes appear to be metaphysically “pulled out” of the paintings and can in turn seem to fit back into the planar works’ evanescent layers. Coating the surfaces of her paintings and sculptures alike with oil, Goldstein emphasizes the procession and mutability of both as gestational kin.

The works exhibited in Welcome Home Stranger find their inspiration in loops, repetition and the infinitude of self-sufficiency. Born out of the seemingly endless monotony of quarantine and the recursive patterns of child-rearing (where, as in Goldstein’s layered application of paint, maturation is often too gradual to notice immediately), the paintings in both title and form evoke a pattern of self-sustainability, a nurturing cycle. Through the material’s testament of eternal return, Goldstein invites the viewer to examine the little differences and encounter for oneself the minute variations on a theme as seamless and endless as the passage of time.

Rebekah Goldstein (San Jose, Calif., born 1982) makes paintings that explore color, form and structure and their relationship to the human body, and the built environment. Goldstein has shown widely across the Bay Area including venues such as CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Berkeley Arts Center and Bedford Gallery. She has been awarded residencies at the Sam and Adele Golden Center for the Arts, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Arad Arts Project. Her work is part of the permanent collection of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Nordstrom, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, as well as many notable private collections. Goldstein received an MFA from California College of the Arts in 2012 and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004. Goldstein lives and works in San Francisco and has been represented by CULT Aimee Friberg since 2013.

CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions is a contemporary art gallery for cutting-edge work by emerging and established artists, founded in 2013 by curator Aimee Friberg. Since its inception, CULT has created a platform for rigorous work that is both experimental and attuned to the social complexities of the present moment. Through gallery presentations, offsite exhibitions, artist conversations and multimedia events, CULT engages a broad Bay Area and international audience with programming that encourages artists, especially from underrepresented groups, to take risks with their work. Conceived as a commercial gallery that would engage its audience beyond the white cube, CULT has become renowned for its provocative exhibition programming, as well as unorthodox performances and critical dialogues between artists, curators and critics. CULT is housed within Yves Behar’s global design firm fuseproject (1401 16th St, San Francisco).