The love affair between U.S. artist Betty Gold and the city of Palma de Mallorca in Baleares, Spain, unfolds lyrically in a new series of seven painted steel sculptures.
The Mallorca sculptures — each casting curious shadows from their angular folds — exude a timely optimism, a message cast in geometry that seems to say that if you take time to study a situation, or an object, you will likely find new perspectives, dynamic ideas, and more thoughtful solutions.
“When I found geometry, it’s like when you find your essence,” says Gold, who lives part time in Mallorca and Venice, California. “Working in a geometric form takes tremendous organization. This is how I live and that’s how I express myself through my art.”
Gold first visited Mallorca in 1999 to participate in a symposium; she also installed a sculpture from her Tirón series there. Commissions followed, and she fell in love with the town and its people. She finished the Tirón series there in 2002, purchased an atelier in 2004, and was feted in 2005 with a 35-year retrospective exhibition at the Casal Solleric Museum in Palma de Mallorca. (Incidentally, the U.S. Embassy in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava commissioned another large piece from the series, Tiron IV, for the garden of the presidential palace.) Meanwhile, Gold had begun working on the Mallorca (M.A.) series.
Gold’s sculptures continue to break the physical boundaries of geometry, as well as encompass a minimalist sensibility akin to Ellsworth Kelly and the playfulness of Joan Miro. Yet, she emerged a bona fide pioneer as a sculptor of Cor-Ten steel and, in a male-dominated field, produced a gutsy body of work that spans nearly four decades.
After Gold installed a new, large-scale piece at last year’s Vancouver Sculpture Biennale in British Columbia, Canada, she put the final shine on the seven M.A. maquettes. The large-scale M.A. IV (2005) belongs to the permanent collection at Palm Springs Art Museum.
Her next series, Sant Elias IX, refers to the street where she lives in Mallorca, and the pieces are identifiable by their cathedral- or castle-like pinnacles.
As usual, the simplicity and sophistication of the geometry belie the dynamic and compelling nature of Gold’s work — thoughtful and jutting with endless possibilities.
- Steven Biller