The world of artist Ann Goldberg is up-close and personal. Through the most refined strokes, she turns everyday items into a hyper-realistic masterpiece. Pieces so convincing that you may find your mouth watering at her latest collection – Cake: A Modern Marie Antoinette. An exhibition that stretches the audience’s imagination and blurs the line between reality and the world that exists on her canvases.
At the centre of this exhibition is a marvellous interpretation of Marie Antoinette, which took six months to complete. A commissioned piece, the portrait is presented in the Dutch Baroque style and is lush with blooms, from wildflowers to ornamental cabbage, butterflies that flutter about the skirting, and a modern-day Marie at the centre complete with long flowing highlighted locks, lipstick, and manicured nails.
In the accompanying exhibition essay, Julia Trojanowski MFA described this central image of Marie as a “Vanitas featuring wilting flowers, insects, symbolic objects alluding to the material wealth and the passage of time” which invites the viewer to meditate on “their mortality and of the worthiness of world goods and pleasure.”
Goldberg at the Pendulum Gallery at HSBC
While the Cake exhibition debuted during the pandemic at the Pendulum Gallery, Goldberg was not about to let this delicious exhibit be ignored. “I wasn’t sure the exhibition would happen as I watched the COVID-19 numbers rise, but the gallery curator Chris Keatley assured me we would find a way to make it happen.”
The exhibition space worked exceptionally well during the pandemic, with the gallery’s large open space viewable to the public 24-hours a day. Paintings were equipped with sensors to deter theft, and visitors were able to mask-up, enter, and enjoy the space comfortably. The additional advantage of being across from the historic and prestigious Vancouver Art Gallery meant attendance was much higher as art aficionados could easily visit both locations.
The Origin of An Artist
Goldberg’s artistic style is influenced by her educational background. Before committing to art full-time, she achieved a degree in mathematics and fine arts and then studied and practiced as an architect in Vancouver for ten years. From these precision-focused disciplines comes an artistic exactness that captures qualities that might otherwise be brushed aside with a single stroke.
She draws inspiration from German photo-realist artist Gerhardt Richter and Canadian Indigenous painter Norval Morrisseau. Critics often consider her to be today’s answer to Mary Pratt, the Canadian photorealistic still-life painter who blazed a trail for female artists, especially in the arena of making objects around the house look extraordinary.
Goldberg is a career artist having worked for years with the Winsor Gallery and is now represented by Calgary’s Gibson Art Gallery.
Her focus lies entirely on finding the most striking version of everyday objects around her, especially observing and translating the importance of light on the focused item-this is the core idea of Goldberg’s style.
She practices hyperrealism by taking hundreds of high-resolution digital photographs, then edits and selects the best for aspects like vivid colours or a particularly striking beam of light. The final oil painting becomes so bolder than real life, or “a handmade reproduction of something that has been reproduced mechanically,” she explains.
A Promise of a Future
Like many creatives, Goldberg finds the pandemic inspiring. While many find isolation a negative experience, one to be shunned and lamented about, Goldberg has experienced feelings of pride at how Canadians responded to the pandemic.
Painting is notoriously a solitary undertaking, so for her, solitude is embraced as part of the process but is she is empathetic to those to whom being alone is alienating.
It would be easy to say that Goldberg’s work is simply the celebration of beautiful objects while highlighting the distortions that make their appearance shift as the world around them changes-but that would be lazy.
With her next exhibition projected to be in a couple of years, one must acknowledge the detailed thought process, the extensive research, and the final presentation as to be complex.
Every stroke of Goldberg’s brush represents many hours, perhaps even days, of mental and physical investment and those who commission works from her, feel it within themselves.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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