Barbara Goodstein (1945-2015) -A Life in Sculpture

The Bowery Gallery presents an exhibition of sculpture by Barbara Goodstein, October 6 through October 29th.

Goodstein was a long time member of Bowery gallery until her death in December 2015. This memorial exhibition surveys Goodstein’s work from the late 1970s to the end of her career.

The large group of relief sculptures in this show reflects Goodstein’s singular position as an artist poised between painting and sculpture. With an eye to painterly painting, she developed her signature medium using plaster and modeling paste on board, a medium which she took through a range from thick/sculptural to a thinned-out surface. In the Wall Street Journal, Lance Esplund wrote of Goodstein’s masterful drawing in her reliefs, “Every shorthand form gets at the essence of the thing.”


Untitled (Adam and Eve), Terracotta, 24 x 7”, 2015

The exhibition traces Goodstein’s obsessions and predilections, and presents us with an artistic persona whose range goes from humorous or zany to poignant and austere, from delicate to blunt; through motifs that include landscape, cityscape, single studio figures, rural architecture, figure groups based on religious or mythological themes, and dancers.untitled-buildingsUntitled (Buildings), Terracotta, 9 ½ x 7  ½”, 2015

Goodstein’s landscapes show us the artist who spent a great deal of time in the Catskills –where in her last ten years she had a studio in Tannersville,NY–and who celebrated in her work not only the drama of the mountainous terrain but also the quiet plainness of the rural church and synagogue buildings of the region.


Calvary Baptist Church, Side View, Acrylic plaster, acrylic paint and tape on board, 21 ¾ x 24 x ¼”, 2006. 

Goodstein worked from life, but continued often in the studio; the show includes works, too, that had their origins in drawings from masterpieces of older art. Viewers may feel the influence of such varied sources as indigenous architectures, Romanesque art, classical Greek sculpture, or Chinese scroll painting, as well as the arts of dance and music. (And she once mentioned to this writer the influence of Art Deco architecture in Miami remembered fondly from visiting there as a child.)


Untitled (Harlequin), Acrylic plaster and tape on board 24 x 24”, 2014-15. 

Other works in the exhibition include figures in the round, collages, and reliefs in fired clay.


Trees and Two Buildings, Acrylic plaster & acrylic paint on board,  36 x 41 ¾ x ½”, 1999.

Barbara Goodstein’s many exhibitions at the Bowery Gallery and elsewhere were noticed by critics in major publications. Jed Perl wrote in The New Republic that “the power of Goodstein’s work is in the multiplying angles from which she approaches naturalistic experience, sometimes suggesting a spatial richness that harks back to Courbet, sometimes dissolving found architecture into Constructivist play….The real and the abstract become partners in the dynamism and the dissonance of an endlessly fascinating duet.”

Goodstein was a well-known teacher of sculpture, who taught at the School of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, the Chautauqua School of Art, and other art schools. Her own training included study abroad in both Mexico and England, an MFA from Queens College (CUNY), and study at the New York Studio School, particularly with the sculptor Peter Agostini. Among her artist teacher-friends she counted the painters Leland Bell and Gabriel Laderman, and the sculptor Natalie Charkow Hollander. She had residencies at Yaddo, Cummington, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work is discussed and reproduced in two of Jed Perl’s books, Gallery Going and Eyewitness.

 This retrospective has been curated by Deborah Rosenthal, painter and writer on art.


more about Goodstein:


There will be a Memorial gathering Sunday, October 9 from 4 to 6 pm at Bowery Gallery. All are invited.

For further information contact:

Deborah Rosenthal 646 784 0124

Or, Bowery Gallery 646 230 6655

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Bowery Gallery

530 West 25th Street, 4th floor,

NY, NY   10001

Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 11-6pm



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