Brenda Goodman

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Artist’s Statement

Most of my work comes from many marks I put on the surface. Then one shape pops out and starts to speak to another shape, and I just sort of put them in touch with each other until a feeling emerges and I develop it. When I worked earlier with symbols, I created the shapes. I would have something or someone in mind and draw those shapes until one appeared, and I would say, “That’s the one!” Later the marks were all from my unconscious. It becomes a very intuitive process. I am as surprised as the viewer very often because I don’t always know why or how I arrived at a certain painting, but what I do know for sure is it is from my gut and it’s honest and real and speaks its truth. Sometimes they reveal something to me; sometimes it’s not so clear. But either way something strong and emotional is being communicated.

In between my primary interest of abstract /figurative work I do series of self portraits which always satisfies a deep emotional need in me.

I would say endurance is just built into my constitution. I don’t do things halfway or give up easily. If I lose something I will spend hours, days, or weeks till I find it. I resolve every painting I do and won’t let it leave the studio until it feels absolutely right to me. At almost 74 now, my knees and back are giving me trouble (welcome to the club), but I won’t stop painting what is in my heart, and I will never retire! Anyway, have you ever heard a painter say they have retired? No….they just paint till they can’t anymore.

Brenda Goodman was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1943, studied at the College for Creative Studies, and moved to New York City in 1976. Since 1973 she has had 38 one-person shows and been included in over 200 group shows in galleries and museums throughout the United States, including the 1979 Whitney Biennial, Edward Thorp Gallery, Nielsen Gallery, David & Scweitzer Contemporary, and Jeff Bailey Gallery. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, New Yorker, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, The Detroit Free Press, and Huffington Post and is included in a number of collections such as Agnes Gund, Santa Barbara Museum, and Detroit Institute of the Arts. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2015, she was included in the American Academy of Arts and Letters annual invitational and received an Award in Art. In May 2017 she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from her alma mater. Since 2009, she has lived and worked in the Catskill Mountains.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.