When I walked into the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center(Kansas City, Missouri) recently, I felt a sense of surreal recognition, though I knew I’d never seen the paintings on exhibit before. Something about the style seemed so familiar to me, but I could not understand why. Setting aside my confusion, I set to enjoying the incredible work before me in “Lucifer Rising.”
“Lucifer Rising” is a collection of about 30 paintings by David Goodrich. Each thickly textured, impressionistic and often surreal image depicts archetypal symbols or readily identifiable creatures turned magical by the addition of unusual traits, such as “Buffalo: in Bloom” (more about that later). According to his artist’s statement, Goodrich maintains “that the cultural mythologies of our society are still significant to us and effect our vocabulary, thoughts, and philosophies. At the very least, they are certainly effective as regards artistic communications, the symbolic language being well established and recognizable.” I certainly felt that the paintings, which included such images as a mermaid, peacock, an Egyptian mummy, skeletons, and a triple goddess-like grouping of naked women.
Each painting, large enough to absorb you into its reality as you stand before it, captivated and surprised me. I felt something primal inside me respond to the imagery as my mind was tickled by the mythological and symbolic references. And, finally, as I spotted “Buffalo: in Bloom,” I realized why the paintings has seemed so familiar to me. That painting had been featured in “America: Now and Here,” a group show I had seen months earlier at the Leedy-Voulkos. It had been my absolute favorite piece in the show and I spent a long time standing in front of it, letting the painting strokes and the colors dance before my eyes. I was delighted that after viewing only one piece previously, I was able to recognize the style of Goodrich (though I’d forgotten the details of his painting).
Goodrich has painted in Kansas City since 1985, after moving from Oklahoma City. His interests lie with what is constant in the symbolic language of art across cultures. He states: “It is my belief that the arts from culture to culture throughout history are generally interwoven with that culture’s mythological inheritance, positioning that society within the context of a super-reality, or in contact with a realm of the fantastic.” Standing before his paintings, I certainly felt in contact with other realms. That is the power of his artistic vision and luscious brush strokes.
You can see “Lucifer Rising” at The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore, Kansas City, Missouri 64108, Thursday through Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm until May 26, 2012.