LAMA BLOG

Artist Spotlight: Joe Goode

May 10, 2019

Looking Through the Natural World

Over the course of his career, Joe Goode (b. 1937) has explored the nature of perception and the fluid relationship between representation and abstraction. Featured in the Pasadena Art Museum’s 1962 exhibition, “New Painting of Common Objects,” Joe Goode’s breakout Milk Bottle series earned him national recognition and a prominent place within the Pop Art canon. Goode characterized his subject matter as “the stuff that [he was] confronted with everyday.” Despite similar historical context, Goode’s commentary diverged from that of contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha, observed one critic, in that he refused to address any particular argument or audience. Goode’s independent conceptual rhetoric was reiterated in the series of works that he began producing in the 1970s, which highlighted natural forces. While some have attached metaphysical meaning to the apparent shift in Goode’s subject matter, the artist pointed out that his portrayal of “the elements” was truly a perpetuation of his core framework of encounters with the everyday.

Joe Goode, Untitled, 1978
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

While living in Los Angeles, Goode executed his Torn Sky series. In the series’ works, clear blue skies, imitating the mountain air surrounding his new home, are interrupted by patches of hazy, Los Angeles atmosphere, rendered in tan and pea green, that peek out from behind the top layer of canvas. According to Goode, the Torn Sky paintings were pure observations of texture, and didn’t initially contain any criticism. However, upon exhibiting the works in London, he was startled by the revelation that his European audience struggled to identify the murky colors of the secondary canvas layer as sky variants. It was this encounter that “made [him] really conscious of what kind of sky we had” and the compelling exchanges between people and their natural environments. Despite its clarity, the Springville sky lacked the complexity afforded to Los Angeles sunsets by the city’s smog gradient. Goode instead undertook identifying the dynamic color qualities of the pastoral scenes that surrounded him.

Joe Goode, Tree #26, 1978
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Just as the icon of the milk bottle had presented itself to Goode on his doorstep, one early morning as he returned from working a night shift, so did the initial inspiration for Untitled (Forest Fire) (1982). As reported by the artist, one evening in the late 1970s, Goode was sitting on his porch and noticed a bright light coming up from behind a mountain. He recalled thinking to himself that it was “going to be the damnedest moon [he’d] ever seen in his life.” After waiting until nearly four o’clock in the morning for the supposed moon to emerge, Goode suddenly noticed the defined edges of flames stretching upwards. The next day he asked a friend of his, who worked for the Forest Service, to bring him out to the site of the fire. Upon gazing at the scene, Goode was awestruck by the magnitude of the destruction and the dissolution of the visual character that he had previously sought to capture. Following his Forest Fire works, Goode was inspired by the “rebirth of the forest” and created the Tree series (to which Tree #26 (1986) and Tree #16 (1987) belong). The artist described the difficulty of documenting this healing process, citing the challenge of capturing his desired “sense of looking in and out, above and below” the mammoth foliage.

Joe Goode, Tree Drawing #16, 1978
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Goode’s 1992 Tornado series revisited the terrain of his Oklahoma upbringing. The painter demystified the “sublime” by pausing an unrelenting force, allowing the viewer to peer into a fury that would otherwise inspire a retreat. While Goode’s “pictorial image” constantly changes, he says that “what [he is] trying to do” remains resolute. From milk bottles to tornados, his “idea of looking through something doesn’t change.”

Joe Goode, Untitled (Tornado Series #3), 1978
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Coyne, Mary. “Joe Goode at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.” Droste Effect Mag, 13 Oct. 2015, www.drosteeffectmag.com/joe-goode-contemporary-art-museum-st-louis/.
Hunter, Drohojowska P. “ART; Abstraction is in His Nature; Onetime Pop Artist Joe Goode Reveals another Side in a Survey Opening the New Orange County Museum of Art.” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 26, 1997.
“Oral history interview with Joe Goode, 1999 Jan. 5-2001 Apr. 12.” Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


LOT INFORMATION

Lot 155
Joe Goode
Untitled
1978
Oil on canvas
Retains James Corcoran Gallery label canvas stretcher bar verso
Canvas: 72″ x 66″; Frame: 72.875″ x 67″; (Canvas: 183 x 168 cm)
This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance:  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $20,000–30,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 156
Joe Goode
Tree #26
1986
Oil on panel and oil on canvas in two parts
Signed to stretcher bar of right canvas verso; inscribed “#26” to stretcher bar of left canvas verso
Canvas/panel (overall): 51″ x 144.25″; Frame: 53″ x 146.25″; (Canvas/panel: 130 x 366 cm)
This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance:  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $30,000–50,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 157
Joe Goode
Tree Drawing #16
1987
Oil on paper
Signed and stamped “1987” sheet verso; inscribed “J.C. #87-1136” and “T.D. #16”
Composition: 14.75″ x 9.75″; Sheet: 15.25″ x 10.25″; (Composition: 37 x 25 cm)
This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance:  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $5,000–7,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 158
Joe Goode
Untitled (Tornado Series #3)
1992
Pastel on paper
Signed and inscribed “#3” sheet verso
Composition/sheet: 8.75″ x 5.625″; (22 x 14 cm)
This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance:  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $3,000–5,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 159
Joe Goode
Forest Fire
c. 1982
Oil on canvas in three parts
Retains James Corcoran Gallery label canvas stretcher verso
Canvas (overall): 14″ x 33″; Frame: 15.375″ x 34.625″; (Canvas: 36 x 84 cm)
This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance:  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $10,000–15,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction


Leave a Reply

BID AND FOLLOW ON THE LAMA APP