Jillian Goldberg

Artists Statement


I create abstract and semi-abstract paintings and mixed media collage. Color and composition are essential elements of my work. Energy, direction, focal point, and balance are important to me in my aim to create harmony and structure. Color palettes that are high contrast, complementary, and unconventional, characterize much of my work. 

Originally from South Africa, my first introduction to art as a child, and later as a student, was my study of the great masters of German Expressionism, the Nabis, and the artists of the Viennese Secession. These European movements, which were prevalent and influenced art in South Africa, made an indelible impression on me. A heavy application of paint, or impasto style, the emotional intensity of gestural brushwork, and abstract expressions of ideas are all evidence of my influences and found in my paintings today.

 My painting approach is visceral. I boldly apply and remove layers in a constant additive and subtractive method on the canvas. I often begin by loosely wiping paint onto a canvas, board, or paper with a rag, then adding paint, and ephemera, materials that are otherwise meant to be short-lived in their use, to create form and structure. Scrubbing and peeling away the surface reveals the process which results in the organic evolution of each work. My interest is in ancient history, architecture, and symbolic mark-making. These help me to create multiple fields of depth and perspectives. Abstracting spaces like alleyways, arches, and paths supports my sense of the mystery of antiquity, while building structured compositions. I am strongly drawn to asemic writing, a type of mark-making that mimics calligraphy but does not hold semantic meaning. For me it conveys the urgent need that people have always had to express themselves and communicate. This fluidity of line helps me in creating bold, expressive, and open meaning in my work.