Abigail Goldman – Wishful Thinking @ SPOKE NYC
The solo show “Wishful Thinking” by Abigail Goldman, on view through March 26th, 2017 at SPOKE NYC (210 Rivington St. New York, NY 10002), is a continuation of the Washington based artist’s ongoing ‘die-o-ramas’, featuring small-scale sculptures that reveal gruesome murders in inevitably haunting yet humorous settings.
With a lifelong interest in observing the dark side of the human behavior, the former Las Vegas Sun crime reporter and investigator for the Federal Public Defender of Nevada has turned what was initially a personal project into an elaborate art series of unsettling fictive stories responding to a thriving culture of crime and man’s lasting fascination with violence.
The works on display depict horrific homicides often taking place in supposedly peaceful corners of nature and safe suburban environments, in the middle of children’s parties, during a regular walk in the neighborhood or in the intimacy of one’s own home. An angry landlord, a vindictive wife, a disturbed child and even a holy figure suddenly snap and become occasional killers. And they seem to enjoy it – there is no trace of remorse on their tiny faces. Their actions are rather satisfying and conscious, not accidental. We witness the moment of relief, following a prior tension, a no longer bearable conflict, and it’s so powerful and mesmerizing that we do not notice the tragedy at first. Although the motives are not disclosed, the artist gives the viewer hints to solve the puzzle or at least reach some plausible conclusions.
The miniature representation of such grave situations does not only diminish the impact on the viewer and any possible empathy with the victim(s) – as if it’s nothing serious, child’s play – but contributes, together with the titles, to the irony of it all – evident, for instance, in Me Time, in which a naked man lies dead on the floor, shot in his back, with his stiff image reflected in the bathroom’s mirror, while his lover sits on the toilet unconcerned. In fact, guns are the chosen weapons in most cases, perhaps a commentary on their accessibility in the U.S. Sometimes, lawn and garden tools can also be weapons or serve the purpose of covering up the crime scene.
Because my work is so small, people are forced to lean in close or crane their necks to see what’s happening within. I always enjoy seeing people hunched over a dieorama suddenly reel backwards when they realize there’s a tiny murder under the glass – it’s a very physical reaction, craning forward and then jutting upright and then leaning in for a closer look. I think because dieoramas are unapologetically violent and gory, people feel comfortable sharing their dark and disturbing thoughts with me. My most memorable example: A school teacher who requested a yellow school bus full of children crashed into a ravine.
The work of Abigail Goldman is both delightful and macabre, blurring the lines between right and wrong, questioning our innocence and bringing to light our darkest thoughts, desires and pleasures, the need for revenge and egocentric behavior.
Abigail Goldman – Wishful Thinking | Exhibition highlights
View available works. Click on the images to enlarge.
Blow Out Candles & Blow Up, assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 8″ x 8″ x 8″
More Rent Control (detail), assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 8″ x 8″ x 8″
Catching The Express Train (detail), assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 8″ x 8″ x 8″
Waste Management, assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 8″ x 8″ x 8″
Me Time, assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 4.5″ diameter bubble
Our Father, assorted plastics, acrylic paint, 6.5″ diameter bubble
About the gallery I SPOKE NYC + SF
SPOKE is an art space specializing in new contemporary painting, sculpture and illustration with an emphasis in accessible programming. Started in 2010, the gallery now houses two locations, one in San Francisco’s Lower Nob Hill neighborhood and one in New York City’s Lower East Side. Each space rotates monthly exhibits that feature a wide variety of solo and group shows, many of which feature an international roster of represented artists.
Throughout the year they also do pop-up shows, conventions and art fairs around the country, exhibiting in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Miami at least once a year. In addition to Spoke Art, you can check out their sister gallery Hashimoto Contemporary (located just two doors down from Spoke Art SF), as well as the full service custom frame and print shop, Paragon Press, located in Berkeley, CA.
Images courtesy of SPOKE ART Gallery. Opening photos: Joe Russo.