Artwork Description

Serendipity

Dimensions: 17 x 22″
Year: 1999
Media: encaustic on panel

Raphaëlle Goethals’ encaustic on panel work, Serendipity, is an early work from 1999. It represents the only work in the collection held by Turner Carroll that is composed of two pieces. The name calls to mind a sense of peacefulness or harmony, allowing viewers to question the relationship between the two halves of the work, the way they interact, and the differences that distinguish them. While at first it may appear that Goethals simply divided a single work into two parts, upon closer examination the surfaces between the sides vary; the left-hand piece is bolder and more dynamic, whereas the work on the right appears more contained. Both are suggestive of some flux induced by the physical world, as if they have been left in the rain, resulting in the pigments running and collecting in a naturalistic fashion.

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