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Eclectic Obsessions in ‘What She Saw’

Eclectic Obsessions in ‘What She Saw’

Lately, artist Amy Goodwin 87 ID­ has been obsessed with an eclectic set of things she sums up as “roses, gardens, campfires and rabbits.” All four are well represented inWhat She Saw,a solo show of new paintings on view through May 13 at theAlbright Art Gallery in Concord, MA.

A Foundation Studies faculty member, Goodwin took her work in a fresh direction in 2008, at a time when she admits to being “anxious about everything. Fear ended up being a license to try something new,” she says in her artist’s statement.

Using an airbrush and separate elements covered with acrylics, she began piecing together her paintings like a collage. “I donʼt want to create a signature style but I do want to make things I havenʼt seen before,” she explains.

Vivid colors, graphic simplicity and a focus on the painterly surface characterize Goodwin’s paintings, which often combine figurative and surreal elements in equal measure. She cites her interest in modernism, design and the work ofEllsworth Kelly and Milton Avery as important influences.

“I live in a complex reality of motherhood and daughterhood,” Goodwin notes. “I am witness to teenage brains that are forming and elderly brains that are in decline. This has made me realize that life is held together by fragile membranes, and that the notion of self is really a process and not something fixed.”

Goodwin finds that the fragility of flowers, which decay soon after they bloom, is an apt metaphor for what she sees all around her every day – the “fragile membranes” of life. However, her bright, decorative style belies much of what weighs on her mind as part of the generation sandwiched between aging parents and children who are becoming young adults, she says. And it’s an irony that pleases her.

After earning a degree in Industrial Design from RISD, Goodwin went on to study painting at Yale, graduating with an MFA in 1994. She has taught at RISD since 1991, first in ID and more recently in Foundation Studies. Her fine art work is included in many private and public collections throughout the country.