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Artists Among Us: Colin Goldberg

Originally Posted: September 09, 2010

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Wirefraame Diptych, 2006, 12" x 24" - Laser-etched marble and wood with liquid polymer. (All images courtesy of artist)

Scepter, 2006, 18" x 12" - Acrylic with pigment-based vector drawing on paper.

Continuing with our artist profiles of artists both living and working in the Hamptons, our next artist is Colin Goldberg, who lives in Southampton.

Colin Adriel Goldberg was born in the Bronx, New York in 1971. His recent work deals primarily with the intersection of abstraction and computer technology.

Goldberg's artistic heritage follows that of the abstract expressionists of the 1950s, who continue to exert their ideological and aesthetic influence on the artist's work. As an undergraduate, he studied under Angelo Ippolito, a New York School abstract expressionist painter and colleague of Jackson Pollock's.

Goldberg obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art with a Painting concentration from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1994.

After college, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a practicing artist for the next five years, opening his first studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and later relocating to Manhattan's East Village.

In 1995, two of his digitally-composed works were projected 200' tall onto the Empire State Building and other New York City monuments for the 1995 Earth Day festival.

In 2005, one of Goldberg's works on canvas was accepted into the permanent collection of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in Springs, the former home and studio of the painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

"Teliopolis," 2005, 19" x 13" - Pigment-based vector drawing on Japanese kinwashi paper with sumi ink.

In 2008, the artist received a Master of Fine Arts degree on full scholarship from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He concentrated in Computer Art, and while in Ohio had his first major solo exhibition, entitled "Wireframes," at the Hudson Gallery in Sylvania.

The artist's work has been included in juried museum exhibitions at the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, and the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York. It has also been exhibited in Boston, Honolulu, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Goldberg's studio is based in Southampton. He is currently represented by the Hudson Gallery in Sylvania, Ohio, and the South Street Gallery in Greenport.

Goldberg explains "A recent series of my mixed-media works contain wireframe chalices, created by rotating gestural marks made on a graphics tablet in 3-D space. I showed these works to an advisor of mine in graduate school, art historian Andrew Hershberger, and he asked me if I was familiar with Paolo Uccello. I said I wasn't. He showed me a Uccello drawing depicting, of all things, a wireframe chalice, drawn by hand in painstaking detailed perspective around the year 1450. This reminded me of the circularity of time and thought.

The digital age will not, as many believe, supplant the traditional arts, but expand them. I believe that digital tools such as the desktop computer and the internet can benefit artists working in virtually any medium.

"Foxtrot," 2005, 19" x 13" - Pigment-based vector drawing on paper with latex glaze pastel, and spray enamel.

The world of technology is changing, and the art world is changing with it. The advent of photography over a century ago spawned the development of modern art, mostly because the role of the artist as a documenter of reality was rapidly disappearing because of technology. This led first to impressionism, then to expressionism, its cousin abstract-expressionism, pop art, conceptual art, and where we are today, which is digital art. I would find it irresponsible as an artist not to embrace the tools of our time, namely, the computer.

I was lucky enough to have been introduced to computers as the technology was first being offered to the public in the 1980s, and since then, they have always been a part of my life. When I was an undergraduate at SUNY-Binghamton in the early 1990s there was no digital arts program there; only the design program had begun to utilize early desktop publishing software, and I was more interested in the painting studio. While an undergraduate student, I did an internship in the Hamptons, working as a studio assistant for fine artist Steve Miller, who introduced me to the photo-silkscreen process as well as the conceptual framework of technology art, which I embraced fully.

As Jackson Pollock used automobile paint to create his famous drip paintings, and Andy Warhol appropriated the commercial photo-silkscreen technique, I too, have embraced the use of commercial and industrial tools and materials in my fine-art practice. It is my way of reflecting the time I am alive in my work, and leaving some artifacts behind to represent the culture of the early twenty-first century.

"Kneeling Icon," 2005, 48" x 36" - Pigment-based inkjet print on canvas.

When did you start making art and what medium(s) do you consider to be your roots in art?

Colin Goldberg: I started drawing when most people do, as a small child. Unlike many people, I never stopped. While growing up, I attended art classes at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton. That was the beginning of my formal education in art. I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Studio Art from Binghamton University, with a painting concentration, and a few years ago returned to school to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in Computer Art from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. They offered me a full scholarship and a paid graduate assistantship, which was far too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I would say the media that formulated my roots in fine art are drawing, painting, and digital media. I started with computers using Apple II computers in Southampton Elementary School. I remember learning a rudimentary programming language called Logo, which let you draw lines and shapes on the screen using simple coded commands. My family's first computer was a Commodore 64, which we got in the mid 1980s. I had a light pen, which let you draw directly on the screen. It was a revolutionary machine for its time. Now I draw on a Wacom tablet hooked up to my Mac, mostly in Adobe Illustrator and other vector-based tools. I have modified my Epson archival printer to accept thickly painted media, which I often use as a ground for my digital drawings.

"Agawam," 2005, 24" x 12" - Laser-etched wood panel with pigment transfer and liquid polymer.

What is it about the Hamptons that brought you here and enticed you to stay, work, and pursue your art here as opposed to some place else?

CG: Well, first a little background - my parents Arthur and Kikuye met while earning their Ph.D degrees in chemistry at the University of Hawaii. They both worked as chemists until my father was offered a teaching position at Southampton College. We moved to Southampton when I was about a year and a half old. I attended Southampton Public Schools, and was voted Class Artist when I was a senior at Southampton High School. I also have a younger sister, Malia, who was born in Sydney, Australia. She also attended Southampton Public Schools, and is now a practicing architect in Honolulu. After going to college upstate, I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to pursue my art career. Shortly after that I moved my studio to Manhattan's East Village, where I lived for about five years on Avenue A. A relationship brought me to Boston, where I was based for a few years, but eventually I returned to my hometown of Southampton. I spent three years in Ohio getting my MFA, and then resumed my life on the East End again. I have always considered the Hamptons my home, and I love the rich artistic heritage of the area. The abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock did some of their most important work here, and I recently had the honor of having a work of mine accepted into the permanent collection of the Pollock-Krasner house in Springs.

How do you support yourself as an artist?

CG: I was lucky to have graduated from college in 1994, and I subsequently landed a job in a small multimedia shop in the East Village, shortly before the web was available to the public. We were doing CD-ROM development and graphic design for clients such as Calvin Klein Cosmetics and The Earth Day Network. I can still remember when my boss at the time came into the office and said 'there's a new way to distribute multimedia globally... It's called the World Wide Web.' I learned HTML and started my own design firm, which I called Intuitive Design, under which I produced launch websites for Snapple, GOLF Magazine, Popular Science and many other consumer brands. I have since rebranded the company as Memetic Media, as the web to me is a giant 'meme pool,' where ideas can replicate and change in an incredibly rapid fashion. The digital tools used in commercial design have allowed me much grater creative capacity as a modern artist. I have created many websites for other local artists in the past 15 years, including Steve Miller and Kevin Teare, both of whom were featured in this column. For the past two years I have also served as the Webmaster for Dan's Papers, which is celebrating its 50th year in publication this year.

"Hydrophobic," 2006, 18" x 12" - Acrylic with pigment-based
vector drawing on paper.

As far as my fine art goes, I am currently represented by the South Street Gallery in Greenport, and the Hudson Gallery in Sylvania, Ohio, where I had my first solo exhibition while still in graduate school. I also have been doing local outdoor shows on the East End, which have proven to be an effective way to sell my work to an audience who might not step foot into a contemporary gallery setting.

Why live and work in the Hamptons as opposed to elsewhere?

CG: Basically, because this is where my friends and family are, and it is simply a beautiful, magical place to live. The rich artistic heritage and proximity to New York City are also important to me. I like to be able to get to the beach in minutes and see deer in the backyard.

What local environmental or historical aspects of the Hamptons do you relate to that may be reflected in your medium?

CG: Definitely the abstract expressionists and other artists of the last century were and are a big influence in my aesthetic philosophy. I had a painting instructor at Binghamton named Angelo Ippolito who was an Italian artist. He immigrated to New York to avoid Mussolini's fascist regime, and was part of the second wave of New York School abstract expressionist painters. Ippolito was a colleague of Pollock's and was the person responsible for introducing me to abstraction. Prior to studying under him, my work was largely figurative, influenced heavily by the surrealists. While an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to work as a studio assistant for Steve Miller, whose main studio is based in Sagaponack. While working for him, I absorbed the intricacies of silkscreen printing from Robert Bardin, who formerly printed for Andy Warhol. Miller also introduced me to the life of a working artist, and I began to appreciate all of the business and professional aspects of being a practicing artist beyond the making of the work. There is so much more involved than just creating successful work. All in all, the Hamptons are a rich source of inspiration and history, with so many local artists and galleries, as well as great educational resources such as the Parrish Art Museum. There is certainly a lot of culture here.

"Rector Oceanus," 2006, 18" x 12" - Acrylic with pigment-based
vector drawing on paper.

What artists do you feel have influenced you and your work?

CG: My short list would include stylistic and philosophical roots in artists including Miro, Mondrian, Pollock, Warhol, and Rauschenberg, as well as contemporary artists working with technology such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Roman Verostko, Steve Miller and Joseph Nechvatal,

What advice would you give an emerging artist?

CG: Make as much work as possible, and show it to as many people as you can for feedback. I believe a layperson's opinion is just as valid as that of an art dealer or historian. One does not need to know postmodern "artspeak" to appreciate something aesthetically. Also, put your work online! Artists can probably benefit from the Internet more than anyone because of the global reach and visual nature of the medium.

What gives you an edge (if any)?

CG: I think having a formal fine art education and commercial experience with digital tools allows me to have a foot in each world, and these two areas cross-pollinate very nicely. I actually enjoy helping other artists get their work online as much as creating my own personal work. It's a different kind of satisfaction.

What are you working on now, and are you involved in any upcoming shows or exhibitions?

CG: I am currently working on revisiting a series of works on paper combining Japanese Sumi Ink brush drawing with digitally-assisted wireframe forms, of which "Teliopolis", 2005 (above) was one of the first examples. I am very interested in the "techno-aesthetic," and how it relates to abstraction, specifically the gesture and the subconscious. My maternal grandmother Kimiye was a master calligrapher who practiced her art in Japan and Hawaii, so this work is somewhat an exploration into my cultural heritage. If you are interested, sign up for the mailing list on my website, and I will keep you posted on upcoming exhibitions of mine, and of new work posted on the site. I am also happy to show potential collectors or dealers my work in person; the bulk of my inventory is located in Southampton. Just contact me via the form on the contact page on my site.

For more information on this artist go to www.colingoldberg.com.

Wireframe Landscape #2, 2006, 12" x 24" - Laser-etched marble mounted on wood panel.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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Guest (Guest) from southampton says::
very very cool mickey
Oct 19, 2010 11:28 am

Guest (Guest) from Humboldt, TN says::
Awesome work! It's about time the east coast re-attained its strong work!
Oct 17, 2010 11:04 am

Guest (Guest) from East Quogue says::
Great work Colin. It is funny that you mention Angelo Ippilito. My family was very close with his sister Connie and his work was always displayed in her home. I still keep in touch with his niece Margreet, we were friends since the 60s.I was also impressed to see your fine art side.Keep your passion going and love what you do, Dan Pollera.
Oct 6, 2010 7:38 am

Guest (Guest) from Terry L Lawence from BG says::
Fabulous work! Good to see your creativity once again. The "Teliopolis," 2005, 19" x 13" - Pigment-based vector drawing on Japanese kinwashi paper with sumi ink." is my pick of th litter...for pernsnoally reasons (hehe)! Keep up the ourstanding work! Miss you and love you, Terry
Oct 5, 2010 8:11 pm

Guest (Guest) from Hampton Bays says::
Wonderful piece. Goldberg is one artist to pay close attention to. His concise statements as to his works & goals were quite clear and to the point. Plus he happens to turn out magnificent work.
Oct 5, 2010 6:30 pm


Col says::
Great article and your artwork looks fantastic, Colin! Love the advice you give emerging artists and how you describe the foot-in-each-world / cross-pollination :)
Oct 5, 2010 12:20 pm

Guest (Guest) from Sothampton says::
Colin, this is a wonderful article. And I absolutely love all the artwork chosen to be presented in it. My favorite is Rector Oceanis. Congratulations! I'm a big fan, Jenny
Oct 5, 2010 11:44 am


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