abigail lee goldberger

Artist Statement

I've always been fascinated by worlds that exist just beyond our reach, whether it's the dream world, a parallel universe, or just the thoughts of another person. As a child I spent hours making up elaborate stories that often lasted for days and felt as real as the world I walked around in everyday. Later on, I became fascinated by the intense dreams I have always had and began keeping dream journals. I also intently practiced and never quite succeeded at exercises meant to help gain awareness while within the dream state. Both the stories and the dreams felt like they were another layer under the world we live in. It seemed that by walking through them, there would other layers to discover, which would lead to a core that contained some sort of universal truth that would help me make sense of the world.

With painting I feel like I have discovered a way to keep exploring these other worlds. My paintings all tell stories but not in a linear fashion, they make an innate sense but one that is also difficult to explain. They show glimpses of unfamiliar worlds that evoke memories and stories in our own lives. They are static images but they tend to unfold and change with time. They each tell a unique story but still tend to form a cohesive whole when taken together. All of the worlds I create and the paradoxes that they contain have led me to a type of truth inherent in life, one that is full of everything possible and still very hard to capture or define.


I am inspired by fairy tales, myths, dreams, memories, experience, longing, religion, and nature so the images themselves tend to be fantastical and myth-like. I love outsider art, collages and printmaking. These styles also inform my work, so that rather than hone my technique to make the most lifelike image possible, instead I explore skewed angles, odd placements of characters within the landscape and a landscape itself that has a personality and defies what we know of the ways in a which a world is supposed to work. All of these elements come together and a painting is finished once I find that I have created a harmony of images, colors, textures, personalities and emotions that feels like a glimpse into another world.

My primary medium is oil paint but at times I also add metallic leaf powders and monoprint elements to enhance the luminosity and further capture the mood of the scene. I usually begin by laying color down on the canvas with no plan as to what will eventually emerge. My canvases are always textured by organic material added to the gesso and thick impasto strokes put on with a palette knife during underpainting. After the initial layer, I start to identify the world that exists within the painting and roughly define it. As I continue through multiple layers, a dialogue develops between me, and the characters that are emerging from the canvas. I get glimpses of their history and emotions and understand how they interact with each other and the world which they inhabit. This dialogue is what creates each world complete with a history and a future, and characters with complicated lives and allegiances who are navigating their individual world in their own way.