Solid Nature Layers

By Tanya Silverman

An installation shot at Gallery Henoch.

Still spectacles of flora and fauna glimmer, glitter, shine, and sparkle at Gallery Henoch for Objects of Reflection, Susan Goldsmith’s first solo NYC show. What results as dense, immense mixed media resin paintings start off as digital nature photographs: egrets flying fast over Everglades’ canopies, clouds reflecting quietly onto lily pad ponds, or branches hanging gently over Central Park waters.

Eyes Only For You. By Susan Goldsmith. Moon Gold Leaf with Gold Leaf, Pigment Print, Oil Pastel, Acrylic Paint, Metallic Watercolors, Resin on Panel.

I stroll to the westernmost stretches of 25th Street on a hot September evening, passing past the bulk of Chelsea and under the High Line, to meet Goldsmith at the gallery. Inside, we stop at each particular piece for Goldsmith to explain the scenario in which she captured the original photograph–whether a it was a trail where she hiked to a waterfall, or a farm she waited at for hours before a peacock finally spread his feathers to full plumage.

Several paintings are sliced into triptych form, an aquatic one of replicating koi curves like a fan, and as we approach Perspicacious–a diptych of a persimmon tree in full bloom–Goldsmith describes its environment in her native Northern California.

“I’ve been watching this tree for 19 years,” she says. “It’s on a ranch and there’s about a two week window when the fruit on the tree starts to ripen.”

The climate was fortunate for the “window” this past year, primarily windy and rainy. The abrasive weather striped off all the tree’s leaves, granting open exposure to the rotund fruits, which Goldsmith recreates with a reflective “copper orangey glow against the white glow leaf.”

Each painting, Goldsmith explains, involves a minimum of four resin pours, and she applies paint in between the layers. Many employ silver leaf, some gold leaf, and you can notice the gridded, metallic base below. Sometimes she takes leaves, flowers, or tree bark, presses them into oil pastel and embeds that into the resin. She says all her mixed media paintings take about a month to complete.

Blanco (Tripych). By Susan Goldsmith. Silver Leaf with Pigment Print, Oil Pastel, Acrylic Paint, Iridescent Watercolors and Resin on Panel.

Her technical explanations cause me to pause for tactical observation, where I move around my viewpoint to study the radiant resin. The embedded dimensions are intriguing to zone into, with their bright tones, reflecting specs of mica glitter, and depiction of different species and settings.

Upon real-life encounters, the surface beauty of plants and animals is very easy to appreciate. However, it takes the time, talent, and technique of artists like Goldsmith to translate its essence on a new, notable level.

All images courtesy of Gallery Henoch.

‘Objects of Reflection’ will be at Gallery Henoch until Sep 27, 2014.