Excerpts from: Reinventing Aura: Carol Goldberg’s Abstract Paintings

By Donald Kuspit

The ultimate creative “act” is clearly the creation of the cosmic order of similar differences and different similarities. Goldberg’s new abstract paintings are a convincing attempt to represent that cosmic order in its dialectical essentials. Perception of particular facts–the colorful and formal details of sense experience, meticulously articulated–and their assimilative conception in an over-all or all-inclusive (cosmic) order, so that each factual detail seems implicated in and inseparable from every other, become parallel lines of consciousness that converge in the holomovement of Goldberg’s paintings.

Goldberg’s new abstract paintings assert the power of the center, and their auratic center is implicitly a halo. She has released the creative energy stored in the finite circular halo, and let it radiate freely through infinite space.

Goldberg reinvents aura by reconciling the opposites that have tended to develop separately in abstract painting. (Each finally becomes an empty extreme.) The esthetic result has more spiritual effect–greater auratic authority–than each is capable of achieving by itself. If esthetic experience is immature spiritual experience, then spiritual experience is mature experience of the implicate order. The esthetically convincing abstract painting becomes spontaneously spiritual, but an exclusively geometrical or gestural esthetic is nowhere near as spiritually convincing–conveys much less cosmic feeling, to use Roger Fry’s term—than a “cosmically” inclusive dialectic.

Goldberg’s abstract paintings offer much more than a shallow impression of aura, as Albers do, or an unstable mood of aura, as Pollock’s do. For her aura is not inarticulate and indefinite–problematic and vague–but an epitomizing expression of the implicate order. Goldberg’s aura conveys its intense definiteness–the relentless process of creative enfoldment that is the holomovement. Her aura has ontological presence: it is unequivocally given–substantially real–rather than an epistemological myth or elusive feeling.

If science is mysticism satisfied–what seems beyond comprehension made comprehensible—then Goldberg’s abstract paintings show that the seemingly mystical, incomprehensible implicate order is scientifically comprehensible.