In one way, Janis Goodman's new series devoted to the idea of water is her simplest work yet. In these drawings and paintings she limits herself to patterns of short, suggestive marks in a single range of colors that float on an empty, single-toned field. Those familiar with her work may be surprised by the transition she has made from highly detailed, realistic representations of poetic objects to these spare suggestions of waves, swirls, ripples, and eddies. However, in many other ways, these works about water are the most difficult Janis has attempted because they are so ambitious.
Inspired by close observation of tides and mud flats, the new series is insistently non-narrative, without anecdote or sentiment. Janis became more aware of the flux of water when she began kayaking in Maine. But these drawings and paintings are not about her personal relationship to the water. This work is about water's essence.
Janis 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. In these new drawings and paintings she 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.