Eleanor Goldstein is a powerhouse steam-engine!! She churns out large canvases of landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes, models life-sized sculptures and brushes thick oils into abstractions on metal. This same energy burns within her as she waits in line at her favorite coffee house, two large bags of espresso beans in her hands, her eyes seeming to catch everyone and everything around her, but you might look right past her. In her sweatpants and sneakers, she blends in like beards and flannel in Flatbush. But approach her and she'll open up as if you'd been the only thing on her mind for days. She paces her conversations the way she's walked the city streets for over seventy years, with brisk, deliberate strides, and you will quickly find yourself in awe or her vivacity. (She recently boarded a small, converted fishing-vessel and explored the landscapes of Greenland for inspiration. She made the trip alone and with only one other English-speaker on-board.) This intimacy with her surroundings mixes with her unstoppable energy and quest for light to fill her works with something unlike herself: a quiet, burning stillness.
I was fortunate enough to meet Eleanor last year on an art tour and she was so kind as to offer a spot in her own show for Ted Conrath. Such a selfless offer took me off guard. It's rare in the age of branding, but it was clear: she cared more about the life behind the art in the world than making a buck. When the Conrath project was uncertain and my wife and I were not sure where to step next, Eleanor was a supportive force. She took pictures of his work and encouraged us to keep him alive and find him a museum. This week, word came from The National Arts Club that their board voted unanimously to exhibit Conrath's work in November. (More on that in another post) And, on cue, I ran into Eleanor the next day. She's like that - in the right place at the right time and you sense she knows it. "Oh, I waited two years to get this picture," she says as she shows me a photo of a sunset along a stretch of road in Westchester. To find the right light, the perfect moment; that takes patience and endurance. In the age of the quick-hitter, Eleanor Goldstein is a reminder of the power, the care, and the nuance that remains a necessity for great art. And I'm not alone in recognizing her power:
"Eleanor Goldstein is a member of the National Association of Women Artists, and the Upstream Gallery in Hastings, NY, as well as a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America. Ms. Goldstein is a Wurlitzer Foundation Fellow. Her work was commissioned by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC; selected by the United States Art in the Embassies Program; exhibited at the Rockefeller Gallery in Pocantico Hills, NY; as well as other galleries and museums in the United States and abroad."
You may spot this great lady in your local coffee house. Say "hello." You'll be glad you did. But grab her while you can, light is always on the move, looking for the next sunset or unknowing hillside to flash its glory.