To call Clark Goolsby a multi-media artist almost seems like an understatement. Indeed, the sheer volume of materials and techniques he expertly employs is staggering, often combining spray paint, acrylics, pencil, wood, foam, plastic, string, and even audio into one finished product – but even that far from represents the impressive span of Goolsby’s “multi-ness.” He seamlessly transitions between different styles, from abstracted, multifaceted geometric forms to realistically rendered objects, crisp lines to more impressionistic strokes and drippings. As if that wasn’t enough, Goolsby tackles a seemingly endless mix of iconography, juxtaposing rainbows and antlers, inverted crosses and trophies, pyramids and statuesque faces. Oh, and by the way, it’s all in technicolor.
The result is just as overwhelming as you might imagine, and that’s exactly the point. Goolsby’s work parallels the milieu of stimuli we are constantly barraged with every day of our lives – a combination, he suggests, which poses a persistent, sometimes surprising threat to our survival. Goolsby’s most recent solo exhibition, Strange/Love at POVevolving Gallery in Los Angeles, focuses on “how we maintain optimism in a world that is so full of potentially life ending situations.” At the center of this exhibition, an 18 foot long skeletal form made of wood and foam entitled “Dead Man” lies horizontally, suspended from the ceiling by hundreds of neon-colored threads. Goolsby’s work reminds us that, even if we are all essentially dead men grasping onto life by the threads, at least those threads are bright, illustrating a sense of playful joie de vivre which urges us to live larger than life, finding beauty in the unrelenting stream of chaos while we still can.