Review: Joe Goode at Michael Kohn Gallery


recent paintings by Joe Goode, most of them monumental in size, elaborate themes with which he has been engaged for more than 40 years. Among them are some of his finest works, as notable for the skillful ease with which they are composed as for their sheer, rigorous beauty.

At Michael Kohn Gallery, Goode typically juxtaposes one or two horizontal panels of mostly monochromatic color — two shades of deep blue, for example, or silvery gray above sea blue — to create a composition that inevitably reads as a landscape or seascape, even though nothing is present except abstract fields of color.

He paints with thin, sometimes iridescent acrylic on sheets of honeycomb aluminum, its surface slightly pixilated — hence the digital inflection of the show’s title, “Flat Screen Nature.”


Each work has been vigorously ripped or torn around the edges, its metal innards exposed. “Bad Dog,” an especially tattered smaller painting that is the oldest in the show, is like the remnant of an old shoe that Fido got hold of.

Goode deftly balances the destructive impulse with the constructive one, a tension that defines so much compelling art made since World War II. It’s as if our understanding of the world can only be achieved by keeping in mind how temporary and provisional it is.

In a side gallery, 14 drawings from the 1970s — most rendered in powdered charcoal — are notably marked by surfaces that have been scraped, gouged, abraded and scratched.

The earliest, dated 1972, is from Goode’s well-known series of images of cloudy skies that have been torn into pieces, like shredded photographs. It’s a venerable ancestor to the marvelously pixilated paintings out front.

Kohn Gallery, 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, (323) 461-3311, through Aug. 29. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.kohngallery.com