Home Art-1 Raphaëlle Goethals: The Art of Light and Space

Raphaëlle Goethals: The Art of Light and Space

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Art has a remarkable ability to transcend boundaries and capture the essence of a place, a moment, or even a memory. Belgian-born artist Raphaëlle Goethals has dedicated her career to harnessing this power, using her unique and sophisticated vocabulary to create abstract artworks that delve into the depths of space, light, and the natural world. With her signature layered encaustic and pigment abstractions, Goethals has carved a niche for herself in the art world, inviting viewers into a realm where minimalism and expressionism intersect.

Born in Brussels, Belgium, Goethals embarked on her artistic journey at a young age. She honed her skills and nurtured her creative spirit at Ecole le SeptanteCinq, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. However, her quest for artistic growth and exploration led her across the Atlantic to Los Angeles in the 1980s. It was here at the Otis Art Institute that Goethals furthered her education, immersing herself in the vibrant art scene of California.

The allure of California’s vast landscapes and unique quality of light left an indelible mark on Goethals. These experiences inspired her to delve deeper into her artistic practice and explore new horizons. Eventually, she made a pivotal move to New Mexico, a place where she could fully immerse herself in the beauty of the natural world and expand her creative boundaries.

One cannot discuss Goethals’ work without emphasizing the importance of place, memory, and process. These elements serve as the foundation upon which her artistry is built. Her signature technique involves layering encaustic and pigment to create intricate and multi-dimensional compositions. Each layer is carefully brushed, scraped, and burnished, resulting in a complex and subtle finish that draws the viewer in, inviting them to explore the depths of her creations.

Goethals’s work represents an evolving journey, characterized by a distilled process and an almost obsessive observation of light and the forces of nature. Through her art, she delves deep into the internalized landscape, reducing it to its most essential resonance – the sound of the wind, the dust on a windshield, and the abstracted notion of Nature itself.

One of Goethals’ works, “Expansion in Blue,” is a testament to her mastery of light and space. This circular masterpiece, measuring 60 inches in diameter and created in 2022, is a stunning example of her ability to convey the passage of time within a painting. The use of dark blues, copper, and indigos, coupled with subtle blues and grays, creates a mesmerizing gravitational pull within the artwork. As one gazes at the surface, it seems to move and swirl, evoking images of delicate jetties in a stream or the vast galaxies in the night sky.

This particular painting serves as the anchor for Goethals’ exhibition at Bentley Gallery in April 2024. It represents a culmination of her artistic journey, a testament to her relentless pursuit of perfecting the interplay of light and space within her creations.

Goethals’ work challenges the boundaries of what art can be, blurring the lines between abstraction and representation. Her paintings evoke a sense of wonder, inviting viewers to contemplate the mysteries of the universe and the beauty of the natural world. Through her meticulous layering and nuanced use of color, she captures the essence of a moment and preserves it for posterity.

In Goethals’ art, there is a palpable sense of timelessness. Her compositions transcend the limitations of the present moment, taking viewers on a journey through the past, present, and future. The interplay of light and shadow in her work creates a dynamic visual experience, one that evolves with each passing moment, much like the natural world she seeks to capture.

Her ability to distill complex emotions and profound concepts into abstract forms is a testament to her artistic prowess. Goethals’ work invites viewers to engage in a dialogue with the canvas, encouraging them to explore their own interpretations and emotions in response to her art. In this way, her work becomes a mirror reflecting the inner landscapes of those who gaze upon it.

Her dedication to exploring the interplay of light, space, and the natural world has resulted in a body of work that is both visually stunning and intellectually engaging. Through her layered abstractions, she invites viewers to embark on a journey of introspection and contemplation, where the boundaries between art and reality blur, and the essence of the world is distilled into its most profound resonance.

As we look ahead to her exhibition at Bentley Gallery in April 2024, we can only anticipate the great works Goethals will showcase as she explores light, space, and the passage of time. Her art serves as a reminder of the boundless possibilities that exist within the world of abstract expressionism, where the canvas becomes a portal to the infinite, and the artist serves as a guide on a journey through the cosmos of the mind and spirit.

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