BARRY GOLDBERG



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studio notes

             


"The right perception of any matter
and a misunderstanding of the same
matter do not wholly exclude each other."
                                 The Trial, Kafka








***
When a form takes hold in my imagination, it is as if something inside me, which I did not recognize, has recognized itself. I value this mute impulse. I do not want intention to get in the way of finding something more interesting.

***
There was a time when if I could not relate the idea—make it clear in words—then the piece felt somehow defenseless. But I began to feel that the more defensible the piece was as words, the less interesting it was as art. And so I began working in a way which let go of this kind of idea as a point of departure. This meant facing a good deal of doubt. I was interested in what would happen if I could learn to trust doubt.

***
If you begin with an idea, then the properties of one thing will seem better or worse than the properties of another thing, in so far as your idea is concerned. But if you do not begin with an idea, then the properties do not seem better or worse, only different, and it is possible to see those differences more clearly.

***
It is curious how certain objects cause the most inarticulate part of the self to lurch forward in recognition—and how, in that recognition, we find an aspect of what it means to be human that would otherwise have remained closed to us.

***
The question isn't whether you will get a desired result, the question is whether you can recognize that what has resulted is more interesting than what you desired.

***
Only by rejecting what seems justifiable, precisely because it "makes sense" in a way that I already understand, can I arrive at something I could not have imagined. Only then can a new  "sense" emerge.

***
One of the essential functions of art is to put us in a situation that calls our assumptions into question and, in so doing, enlarges our ability to perceive. Some art sets out to achieve this as an intention—which usually ends up as lifeless pedantry. The art which interests me achieves this as a consequence of what it can't help being.

***
What makes sense to the body is not the same as what makes sense to the mind. If you are interested in what makes sense to the body you must trust what is not meant for words.


***
To see one thing is to not see another.

***
The situation that I find most compelling is one in which my body has recognized something which my mind has not perceived. There is not a particular kind of form that is inherently better at creating such a situation. A classical figure is present in one way; the gray pedestal on which it stands is present in another.  Each possesses useful aspects or properties that the other lacks. This notion opens up important possibilities. Uniqueness is not superior to banality, any more than complexity is superior to simplicity.

***
In a poem, a Vermeer is not of greater value than a screwdriver. Each is a word with a particular rhythm of sound. Either may be essential in obtaining a meaningful condition. In a language of physical form, every form is a particular rhythm of matter moving through a space that is governed by gravity. One form may be highly allusive, another not; one may be identifiable, while another has no name. I do not prefer one form to another, my desire is to be alert to the potential of their differences.