Dimensions: 40.63 x 37.63″
Media: encaustic on birch panel
In Raphaëlle Goethals’ encaustic on birch panel work, Borealis VII, Goethals suggests continuity by labeling the work with a seven, allowing viewers to determine whether the piece is part of a collection of similar works or has been titled to create a sense of nature’s ambiguity and mystery. While Goethals’ characteristic layering technique is evident, this work features a beautiful snowy white color—engaging through contrast with the idea of the colorful Aurora Borealis partially found in the title. Goethals plays with the linear and the organic within Borealis VII by layering a grid of equidistant dots over the formlessness of the background, creating an opportunity for the viewer to remain comfortable yet engaged without settling on a single focal point.
Raphaëlle Goethals is a self-described bicultural artist, who grew up in Belgium and left for the United States to pursue her artistic career in Los Angeles—culminating in her move to New Mexico where she has lived and produced work for the past twenty years. Due to her upbringing in an environment riddled with the artistic successes of Flemish Renaissance Artists and more contemporary individuals such as René Magritte, Goethals work often draws on this rich history, emphasizing a sense of process and creation in conjunction with art historical elements. Her work is best described as abstract, where Goethals gradually builds up detailed surfaces through layering wax and resin, incorporating elements from the present through each additional layer and the past by manipulating new layers to reveal the textures beneath. Goethals’ work redefines traditional ideas surrounding language and time and serves as a personal adaptation of a landscape, where her pieces visually explore the human mind rather than a geographical region. Goethals challenges viewers to limit the scope of information they take in and are frequently bombarded with by observing pieces that are reductive in nature and free viewers from external distractions.
by Keira Seidenberg