CHARLES GOLDMAN at Birch Libralato (129 Tecumseth). To April 21. 416-365-3003. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Working within almost ascetic limitations, Charles Goldman creates arresting works that grow out of a seamless organic process. He wrests unusually satisfying pieces out of found materials with an equally satisfying economy.
Goldman's works begin as simple explorations of line, space and volume. His distance painting in this show (Goldman's practice includes painting lines of certain length) represents the length of his studio's perimeter, folded into a pleasing light blue knot on a backdrop of white aluminum.
The resulting lines and curves play the abstract literalism of measurement against the imaginative abstraction of the work itself, and the result is coolly stunning.
His "full can" paintings are just that. Using a found backdrop, he sprays the entire contents of a can of paint onto its surface, creating a dense field of colour. It's colour-field painting by rote. Yet Goldman's painterly eye is always at work: every colour and background he chooses is subtle and interesting.
Following an equally dogged logic, his sculptures are built out of found scrap wood that represents a chosen volume: usually the bucket in which the scrap wood was collected. Once again, the final objects belie the simplicity of their conception.
His self-portrait, a complex assemblage of found scrap and dollops of insulation foam, still conveys the sense of a body. Seen from a distance, it becomes even more strikingly human, and the subtle colouration, touches of silver and ginger, makes it all the more compelling.
Like Richard Tuttle, Goldman strips his process down to keep himself focused on the essentials of colour, line and form. In doing so, he reminds us that the most basic elements are more than enough.