M. C. Goodwin
Miles Cleveland Goodwin: The Maze
January 14 - February 11, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 14, 6:00pm – 8:00 pm
Valley House Gallery is pleased to present our second exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Mississippi artist Miles Cleveland Goodwin, along with the publication of a catalogue illustrating his recent work.
Working in his open-air studio, Miles is deeply in touch with his surroundings – both corporeal and spiritual. He incorporates materials provided by the land - dirt, ash, nests, and the refuse of rural life – in his oil and egg tempera paintings, resulting in complex and unexpected surface textures. Likewise, his sculptures evolve through an intuitive process born from his natural inclination to see poetic metaphor in all he observes.
Not unlike the spirit of Southern literature and Delta blues music, there is an autobiographical nature to his storytelling. Miles says, I don’t like to do things I don’t know. He paints to figure out who he is. In Goodwin’s soulful compositions, he narrates the story of his family and the essential nature of animals and land around him. In his work, we feel the temperature and humidity. We sense the ever-present spiritual forces that guide our world. We experience the inherent ambiguities and provocations felt when confronting life as it is. The honest intention and lack of guile behind the paintings resonates within us long after an encounter with his work.
About this body of work, the artist states:
I live in a small town in central Mississippi. I live here because there is a sense of the old world, old ways of doing things—rough hands and bright souls. When I drive to town every morning for three shots of espresso on ice, I see people with cemeteries on the side of their yards, those plastic flowers all around. People who are not racially divided, but together because of a long history of ups and downs. A place where the woods are swallowing homes like snakes eat eggs; they travel down the winding body of the highway roads. It is all so beautiful and true.
Collectors Catherine Such and Douglas Walker, recently wrote an appreciation about Miles’ work:
Miles Cleveland Goodwin looks at an America that is both long past and just within reach of the future. He crafts a unique landscape portrayed through a lens of archetype and myth and peopled with characters familiar or fantastic yet always resonant. Not quite dystopian, but fundamentally introspective and haunting, the work is meticulously crafted with layers both of material and allusion into a narrative that simultaneously draws the viewer into what might be happening but maintains a deep reserve.
Nothing is quite straightforward and narratives are never definitively resolved in Goodwin’s work. Viewers are compelled to speculate about a greater story that lingers tantalizingly just out of reach. Longing, mythos, a gothic formality, and many recognizable but dreamlike elements provide an entry into an ultimately interior experience of his work. The subconscious experience of his art is deeply intimate.
This rests on a bedrock of rare skill and ability, coupled with a distinctly southern artistic sensitivity. Goodwin expands his psychological themes with color – particularly white and crimson – and the depth of surface, texture, brushwork and manipulation of paint and material. Imagery arises through a complex and ever-evolving process of interaction between artist and materials.
The result? An old master painting rescued from a corner of the attic. A scene played out in a landscape emerging from our shared anxiety for the future. Or a prophetic vision transfigured in pigment and feathers and branches.
Deeply American, in its isolated landscapes and beautiful anxieties, the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin endures.
Miles Cleveland Goodwin was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1980, and raised in the South. He earned his BFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, and eventually returned to Mississippi. Valley House Gallery presented his first exhibition in Texas, Where We Prayed, in 2015.
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For further information email LGreen@valleyhouse.com