Eric Goldstein calls his art Poetic Narratives with Kinetic Energy. It’s a lofty title to assign, but when you understand his history and the experience he brings to each piece, it begins to make sense.
His work is, at the same time, complex and simplistic. At first glance, it seems chaotic. But the longer you appreciate it, the order within the piece rises to the surface.
“I start with a shape or concept,” Eric says. “I use a ruler to apply the organic natural fibres, cotton. And so that provides a rhythm, a measurement and assures that lines are straight. They’re parallel. I use string sort of like pixelation in photography, but instead of a dot, it’s a line. The line is creating a framework in which I’m going to tell my story.”
On top of these cotton lines, which add relief, he applies paint mixed with either plaster or cement. This adheres the fibres to the canvas, while allowing him to bring narrative—a story—to their order.
“The Earth is mathematically connected,” he says. “And we put visual order to it, but what it really is, is a chaotic array of light and movement and texture. And we look at a landscape and we obviously discern the mountains and the trees, but there’s a feeling that we get inside, kind of a pondering presence that we get that’s incomprehensible and indescribable. It’s a feeling. And so my work tries to capture the feeling that you get from looking at nature’s unbound spaces.”
That’s what emerges from Eric’s work, an emotional response from his way of telling a story. He is pulling together these elements of light, movement and texture into a single, static frame, but without losing the mobility that exists with these elements through the passage of time.
It speaks to his history in working with story in other artistic forms.
Drawing from experience
That history began in a rather unique place.
“I like to say I started my career in a small, dark room processing film for a civil rights photographer named Spider Martin,” Eric says.
At the age of 15 years old, Eric began working as an intern for Spider in Alabama, where he grew up. Often he would end up cutting school to go into the dark room and work.
When high school finished, he found himself at the Rhode Island School of Design and later, the California Institute of the Arts, where he earned a degree in film and video production.
But once out of school, he discovered that trying to find a job as a new film graduate in the centre of Hollywood was hard.
“It was quite difficult actually,” he says. “It took me several years. I worked on any volunteer position that I could get. I think if you added up all of the days that I worked as a volunteer it would be well over a year. Until I became a camera assistant for another cinematographer who got me into the union.”
From there, he worked towards becoming a camera operator and eventually a director of photography and cinematographer.
It was through his work in film where he honed his skill at telling a narrative through the use of movement, light and time.
Poetic narratives with kinetic energy
Both concepts of narrative and kinetic energy come from Eric’s work as a cinematographer. He has worked on dozens of films and televised movies throughout his career, which gives him a unique view of how to construct a piece.
“I’m asked to move the camera to create kinetic energy for the film. So, I took those two elements—a narrative and the kinetic energy—and I decided to create art that was a single frame that explored all the things that I did as a cinematographer.”
Eric’s artwork can be seen next at the Harmony Art Festival, happening in West Vancouver, July 29 to August 7.
For more on Eric and his work, visit his website at www.ericgoldsteinart.com/
By Nathan Durec