David Goldes: Unpredictable Drawings

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David Goldes (b. 1947) uses chemical and electrical transformations of materials such as graphite and silver to form the basis of his work. Many of the changes that occur on the drawing surfaces through the agency of high voltage electricity and sulfur compounds are only partially controllable. Coupled with Goldes’ imagery a hybrid practice of intention and unpredictability emerges. For the artist, this combination resonates with many of the uncertainties that we currently face. In the electrified works, the drawings yield evidence—blackened burns, holes and surface scarring—while the chemically altered silver leaf works show unplanned colored areas of oranges, greens and blues. During the development of this work, organized and geometric forms gave way to abstract, fragmented, biomorphic forms. Ideas referencing instability and balance, the effects of proximity and adjacency, belief and illusion, as well as microscopic imaginings became intertwined with pressing social concerns of social upheaval and the global pandemic. The work also offers a contrary motif rooted in the aesthetic qualities of the materials used, their properties, and the artist’s delight in harnessing ways of transforming them. Unpredictable Drawings evolved from a related photographic practice based on the artist's observations of physical phenomena related to electricity. This new body of work seeks to materially present the action of electricity and chemical change in the most direct fashion possible. The drawings are a shift from a ‘picture of’ to ‘the thing itself’ and can be seen as an expansion of Goldes' interest in a multilayered representation of phenomena.

Educated first as a scientist, David Goldes holds a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from SUNY at Buffalo, M.A. in Molecular Genetics from Harvard, and M.F.A. in Photography from the Visual Studies Workshop/SUNY-Buffalo. Since 2017 he is Professor Emeritus from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1947, he has lived and worked in Minneapolis since 1979. David Goldes has been awarded numerous fellowships and residencies including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation and Minnesota State Arts Board, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, and MacDowell. Goldes’ work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Minneapolis Institute of the Arts; Yale Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and the Musée Nicéphore-Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France. His work is represented by Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. Goldes’ previous books include Water Being Water (Wright State University, 2005), and Electricities (Damiani, 2017).

Pavel S. Pyś is Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center. At the Walker, Pavel has recently curated The Body Electric and co-curated Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon, as well as solo projects with Elizabeth Price and Daniel Buren. Prior to the Walker, Pavel was the Exhibitions & Displays Curator at the Henry Moore Institute between 2011 and 2015. A curator and writer, Pavel has contributed to a range of solo and group exhibitions, including exhibitions with artists David Diao, Robert Filliou, Christine Kozlov, Katrina Palmer, Vladimir Stenberg and Sturtevant, as well as the group exhibitions Carol Bove / Carlo Scarpa (2015); The Event Sculpture (2014); Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture (2013) and 1913: The Shape of Time (2012) at the Henry Moore Institute; We Will Live, We Will See (2011) at the Zabludowicz Collection (as part of the inaugural Zabludowicz Collection Curatorial Open); and To See an Object, To See the Light (2011), at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including ArtReview, Mousse, Frieze, and Art Monthly Australia and he has published essays on artists including Carol Bove, Michael Dean, John Latham, Wilhelm Sasnal, Alina Szapocznikow, and Fredrik Værslev.Artwork by David Goldes
Text by Pavel S. Pyś


Hardcover / 9 × 11 inches
62 images / 140 pages
ISBN: 9781955161015