Franziska Goes – Polarity

Franziska Goes – Polarity

on the occasion of Polarity at Moskowitz Bayse, Los Angeles, 2024


Moskowitz Bayse is pleased to present Polarity, an exhibition of new abstract paintings by Berlin-based artist Franziska Goes. Polarity is the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery, and will be on view February 17 – March 23, 2024.

Franziska Goes makes abstractions that allude to the visually familiar while simultaneously defying overt legibility. She is sensitively informed by personal observations and encounters with her surroundings; in Polarity, physical and sensorial experiences of lush nature, pulsating cityscapes, and the realm of technology collide and coalesce, mediated and transmuted in her pictures through painterly impulses as orderly and referential as they are playful and intuitive.

Bound rhythmically in layered forms both undulating and rectilinear, swaths of vibrant color imply illusory depth that coexists alongside absolute flatness. In Your Gaze/Yellowochre, plain shapes defined by sinuous lines compete with brushy and stippled passages with rough edges. A fissure between them reveals a gridded area awash with wavy lines of varying opacities, swiftly conjuring, perhaps, the familiar image of sunlight sparkling over a body of aquamarine water. As quickly as the eye perceives such a mirage, the artist’s commitment to pictorial space prevails; a constellation of discrete outlined forms scattered across the composition interrupt, reconfigure, and ultimately return the so-called view to flatness. Or do they?

As in past bodies of work, Goes finds freedom in form out of a set of self-imposed constraints in her palette; she determines a fixed number of colors for each surface in advance of approaching composition, exploiting the potential of association and intentionally teetering between resonance and dissonance. In Landscape Painting/Sienna, an accumulation of discordant flat forms in veridian, sienna, and aquamarine are juxtaposed beneath feathery shapes and ribbons of the same palette applied with a pointillist-esque effect. While there is little if anything here that implies the space of a landscape, the perceptual experience of exploring one is palpable everywhere.

This phenomenological framework inherent to Goes’ work is accentuated by its relationship to the technology that she uses to inform and arrange it; she develops her pictures by moving her library of compositional elements developed in the studio around her screen before she sets them down on her canvases. Formal choices across works–color, shape, texture, and line–seem both endlessly mutable and distinctly deliberate, intentionally echoing our collective experience of “choices” made for and with us by algorithms that have come to define our daily lives. While shapes that allude to blurred pixels and techniques akin to those made by digital “brushes” are frequently placed in visual conflict with those that present as more earthen, the vulnerability of the artist’s hand remains fundamental and consistent in the application of paint across both impulses. In muddling the two, she impells the viewer to innately contend with both modes simultaneously.

Across the exhibition, polarities present not as prevailing forces relegated to conflict but instead as scaffolding to support expression, consideration, and negotiation between them. Spaciality and flatness exist in harmony, recalling the familiarity of occupying a room while gazing through a picture window. Colors set against one another do not clash, but rather one exercises the power to change our perception of the one next to it, and vice versa. Goes’ evident exuberance in making puzzles for the viewer and offering solutions for them at the same time proffers an inventive strain of abstraction in the 21st century, one that emerges as personal, optimistic, and genuine while simultaneously adhering to and relying on the rigor of internal logic intrinsic to the mode since its inception.