Goodman's recent work is devoted to the idea of water. In it she limits herself to patterns of short, suggestive marks in a single range of colors that float on an empty, single-toned field--spare suggestions of waves, swirls, ripples, and eddies. Inspired by close observation of tides and mud flats, the new series is insistently non-narrative, without anecdote or sentiment; this work is about water's essence.
Goodman suggests rhythms and patterns of moving water through the traces of her strokes. As she works she lays one set of marks down on top of another, letting them flow across the surface, suggesting the impact of opposing waves and ripples. In many of these works, the marks are the water; in others they signify sharp glints of sunlight glancing off the water's surface. Goodman re-enacts and transcribes the eternal rhythms,varied patterns, and incessant movement of water. This work silently but effectively evokes water's ubiquitous presence and beguiling charm as well as its vital significance to our world.
--From an essay by Laura Coyle,
In the "shifting waters" portrayed by Janis Goodman in this exhibition, the on-going quest to understand, explore and reveal the many subtleties of water are wedded to new strategies, processes and working methods. Like Leonardo's investigations, however, Goodman's drawings attest to the continuing power and relevance of nature, time and the creative impulse.
--David M. Gariff
National Gallery of Art