Artist: Rebecca Goodman
Host: Taylor Shuck

Untitled, Acrylic, wire, and found collage materials on canvas


Since being home so much, it has become very clear how built and nestled ideals are in the aesthetics of a decorated apartment. This became especially apparent with the introduction of a new piece of art, in my already art filled space. Through the hosting opportunity of the Crosshatch Project, I had the pleasure of living with Untitled by Rebecca Goodman for 6 weeks. The experience brought reflection and appreciation for the ways that art communicates and the channels it travels to do so.

I am lucky to have a roommate that doesn’t mind how many paintings I have and that every wall is a carrier for a canvas. I imagine what once was a white walled second floor unit can now be seen from the street in a tonal glow. The paintings range from ten years old to a couple months old, and every single one is quite colorful. This is in large part due to growing up in Florida and the familiar nature of sun-soaked colors, but that fact, just like the paintings, are just another part of me.

In many ways artists form a kind of language through mark making where paintings speak to one another, sometimes as loose thoughts and other times in full conversations. The chronological order in which work is made feels like dialogue as documented lineage showing shifting tendencies over time. Materiality and color travel through trends and time stamped preferences to deliver the tone and mood for the person listening, whether they understand the chat or only catch the tail end. The whole of the parts speaking to ideas, experience, and sensibilities that all function independently, but in the context of my apartment the conversation is palpable. The environment’s very established dialogue was a setup I wasn’t fully aware of before bringing Rebecca’s work into the mix. Due to the existing context, the incorporation of Untitled felt like adding a punctuation mark into a paragraph of noise.

The painting is black and white with specks of holographic plastic flecks on the surface, not very visible but present. As a whole it reads mostly whited out, where collaged images and marks beneath it have been washed and rinsed. The mark making is confident yet scratchy, surely a pallet knife dragged and scraped audibly at points of its creation. In many distinct pulls from top to bottom my arm feels heavy in the imagined movement. Thin and projecting, light as ever, out from the center though, is a silver wire nearly invisible depending where it’s viewed from. The wire would move with the wind of my walking by, as a rounded coil at the end found support with precarity. Though delicate in material, the wire felt slightly aggressive with the protrusion so far and the language of line so different from the pallet marks of the surface.

In the newness to my wall, I couldn’t help but be aware of its presence. The lack of color always caught my attention. In a way, I felt impolite by being startled when I turned the corner for so long, but eventually I remembered I had a guest in the house. I found myself wondering if Rebecca and I swapped work at the same time, what she might feel from my energy in connection to her space. A trading of spaces in a trading of minds might have opened some strange portal. It’s interesting to feel that I know Rebecca now in ways that I most definitely do not. Surely, most of what I learned was about myself.

The sensation of connectivity to my relics in paint are not new thoughts and though it shouldn’t have been a surprise that hosting a new painting would ask me to consider this truth closely, I still felt confronted. I surround myself and really feel reminded of myself by the fragments of my mind around, and the process weirdly checked me at face value the level of obsession that touches on. When greeting the new painting and feeling a shift of energy away from my own that had hung there before I began asking myself: Is this narcissism in paint or are paintings more like children or friends? Are paintings and the places they hang shrines, and is there an energetic connection like horcruxes where pieces of my soul become embedded? I wondered if Rebecca would be the wire, or if she was in the parts of the painting covered up.

In these ways Untitled became a portal for me and a break outside of my own frame of reference. The work asked me what I value, what I find comfort in, and what I pay attention to. The experience reminded me how weird it is to love things, yet how comforting it is to speak through the translation of invented spaces that then get to live in real places.

—Taylor Shuck