Excerpts from Mystic Physics: Carol Goldberg’s Paintings

By Donald Kuspit

The electrical particles leave their dynamic trace in Goldberg’s cosmic space. They streak across it like meteors in a night sky—particles of pure consciousness emerging from the dark unconscious of matter.

Goldberg’s non-objective paintings seem to be, even when her quanta unexpectedly structure themselves in space, forming a cosmic grid, initially small but infinitely expanding.

If quantum theory is scientific mysticism at its purest–if mystic physics epitomizes the inherent mysticism of science–then Goldberg’s paintings show that the quantum mysticism of abstract physics and the aesthetic mysticism of abstraction converge.

One might say that Goldberg’s abstractions display the subatomic energy of the creative flux as it becomes materially manifest even as it remains electrically fluid. I am saying that Goldberg’s abstractions address the fundamental problem of art by way of physics, which is the problem of daring to enter and swim in the creative flux of becoming without drowning—to flow with the creative flux without being carried away by it. It involves becoming uncannily conscious of what we are usually unconscious of—our own primary creativity–however much “theoretical” consciousness of it we have.

Goldberg’s electromagnetic field paintings, with their dynamic gestural particles, evoke the creative flux with imaginative cogency. Even more, they advance electromagnetic field painting beyond where Pollock and Newman left it—split between gesturalizing and geometricizing abstraction, and thus seemingly permanently divided against itself, a contradiction in abstract terms that Barr’s diagram implies is esthetically unresolvable.