Carol Brown Goldberg ushers us into her studio. Modest to a fault, she searches our faces for our response to her latest body of work, which is literally still on the drawing board. “Do you like it?” Carol asks us less imploringly than to inspire conversation, or perhaps a spontaneous critique. Carol has been experimenting with the Surrealist device of automatic drawing, wherein the hand moves across the paper or canvas driven by the subconscious. Her working process recalls the Zen masters who empty their minds of thought—working with an empty mind—which is quite a different thing from working without thought, in order to make room for the new.

Carol’s is an insightful mind coupled with a discerning eye. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves line her walls with titles ranging from monographs on Modernist art masters to history and literature, which she reads voraciously. Skilled in the fading art of intellectual conversation, Carol throws out questions for exploration and to ignite new ideas that may begin in her studio, leading well into dinnertime, dessert, and subsequently in emails.

I imagine Extravagant Edens to be a constant flow of the artist’s psychological associations, revealed through the subconscious. Not an exact representation of content or the myriad philosophies she consumes, Extravagant Edens suggests one neuron flowing to another neuron while her hand merely transcribes the results. Cerebral as it is, Carol’s art possesses magic, whimsy, and bold color. She genuinely enjoys the process of creation as well as the creation of new processes. She experiments with techniques and materials as simple as sparkles, which she will tell you with glee, as if to challenge your stolid ideas that use of glitter ends with kindergarten and has no place in a working artist’s studio.

Each time I see Carol, she reminds me that creativity, innovation, and energy propel the artistic enterprise. In Tangled Nature critical thinking and problem solving opens up paths to our own extravagant Edens, full of sinewy lines infused with color. We just need to empty our minds to allow new thoughts to penetrate and free ourselves from convention.

Jordana Pomeroy, Ph.D.
Director, Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, FIU