“A while back Sharon Gold was concerned with the contrast of geometric “hardness” and “organic” fluidity, the hard-edge vs. the moving current of bright sensuous paint. The current has won out for now. Some of the paintings seem to have more of a grounding than others in natural world associations: the small Vital Sign (1985) is a painting of lush green strands growing, and twining their way, from the bottom to the top of the picture frame, while the shapes in Metamere (1985) clearly suggest plant leaves.

But in other works, like the masterful Los Dos, the forms are forces of color and movement themselves, untroubled by references to external reality. In Los Dos a large oval of deep red pushes its way into a band of yellowish streaks, which adjoins a wider patch of yellow, which in turn borders areas of mahogany, then white, then pale green. (If any association comes to mind at all, it is the squirming, chaotic colorful sights revealed by microscopic enlargement.) In Light and Passage (1985) streams of crimson overlap and wind their way across a field of yellow, blue-yellow, and greenish yellow. In many of the paintings a beautiful glaze covering the canvas creates an intensely luminous aura.

Like Leon Polk Smith (in his different way) or Rothko or Still, or any of the most vibrant color-painters, Gold creates an art that must be absorbed in person, that calls for on-the-spot saturation and surrender if it is to have any impact. Her dense color, leaving no open space, moves and resonates across the canvas in a way that cannot be approximated on a glossy page. That can be taken as a mark of its value. (Stephen Westfall’s recent characterization of walking into a room full of Gold’s paintings as “akin to entering a hall lit by stained-glass windows” is an apt description. And how many of the great stained-glass windows can be appreciated in even the best reproductions?) Gold’s recent work affords the view a sensual as well as intellectual pleasure, something that many recent abstractions have sedulously avoided.”

John Loughery
April 1986