On Friday I made a little trip to see a cycle of paintings by Gordon Goetemann at Andover-Newton Theological School in Newton Center, MA. The cycle of large paintings is inispired by Gustav Mahler’s 2nd Symphony in C Minor — the “Resurrection” symphony.
I had found out about it from a friend who had seen the show at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester. We were both interested in it because of the time we spent in Orvieto, where there are two great artworks representing the Resurrection of the Flesh.
Both the Maitani bas-reliefs on the facade of the Cathedral and the Luca Signorelli frescoes inside the Cathedral represent the end times and Resurrection of the Flesh.
Goetemann’s interpretation hovers between representational and abstract, each painting or triptych carrying it’s own color palette and visual rhythm – some quiet and meditative, some jarring and sharp. As in the symphony, the colors and motifs repeat themselves after several movements.
Of Mahler’s Second Symphony, Goetemann says: “The underlying ideas.. are to find freedom in the face of adversity; courage in the face of dislocation; and eternal life in the face of human decay.” These universal themes echo those of the Medieval and Renaissance artists who told the salvation story on the Cathedral of Orvieto, and indeed, the struggle we all engage as we move through life, towards life.
Goetemanns paintings will be on display at the Meetinghouse at Andover-Newton Theological School through April 11, 2010.