In "Psychomachia" at Miguel Abreu, Rochelle Goldberg reveals a new body of work inspired by Mary of Egypt, an early Byzantine Empire-era saint who fled a life of sin to find salvation in the desert.
Through "The Life and Death of Mary," as a series of acrylic and silkscreen prints, Goldberg recounts the saint’s story. Building on this, sculptural elements on view manifest objects that are of particular significance in the narrative—take, for instance, the three loaves of bread that sustained her while trekking across the desert. In Picnic (2020), ceramic bowls, imbued with a bread-like surface texture, assume forms that conversely appear picked-over and stale—ostensibly foreshadowing the diminished state of Mary’s limited sustenance after some time has passed.
In multiple, bronze effigies, Goldberg resurrects the patron saint in likenesses of her that deviate from peaceful to desperate to authoritative—with the most delicately-rendered and simultaneously grotesque example being Corpse Kitty: towards a friendly fatality (2020). Taking place sometime in the aftermath of Mary’s death, the piece at once circles back to the moment that she died: with a cat that rests on what’s left of Mary’s decomposing chest as a symbolic echo of the lion that bore witness to her demise.
Rochelle Goldberg, Fence [Undone], 2019-2020. Ranch fencing, fairy lights, aluminum, coins, and steel wire, 32 x 27 x 27 inches.