David Goerk

(American, b. 1952, Elizabeth, New Jersey, lives and works in New York)



His art is difficult to describe.

Goerk’s objects are abstract and have no connection to other things.

They look good in almost hidden places.

They do not disappoint, but always surprise. 

This is the best proof of their quality.

When you see them, they make you smile, you fall in love.

- Giuseppe Panza di Biumo (Panza Collection, Italy)



I make things---I want to look at...


It’s an inimitable practice that takes place in the making of “things”. Clarity and ambiguitybeauty and presencepictorial and physical space, and all that unfolds through process---interests me. My work is both self-referential and informed---and for me, embodies everything and nothing. My process is both intuitive and empirical---deliberately pursuing an honest and complex spirit, while conjuring that which is already there, but has not been seen. - David Goerk


David Goerk's work reveals an ongoing exploration of the object and pictorial attitudes—and keeps painting and sculpture in dynamic equilibrium. He has continued to work distinctively and independently in this way, keeping a magnetic and mysterious quality within each work and within bodies of work. He maintains, at the same time, a purposeful reflection of--–and upon—-history; and the masters of modern and contemporary art whom he reveres.  Over the years, he has used encaustic wax as both painting medium, and a sculptural element. He both brushes on and casts the wax, sometimes within the same piece. The support is wood, with gesso, enamel, encaustic, oil, and the occasional inclusion of other mediums. Painting and sculpture are not trying to be defined here; rather, the impulse is to make an object unto itself, with its own powers.  The idea of painting and the act of painting, as well as the variability of viewpoint afforded in most sculpture, seem to be sifting through and forward, with process itself remaining quite clear. In fact, clarity itself may be the subject.


“Goerk’s constructed paintings tend to consist of one or more planes extending from a box-like structure — a construction that draws the viewer incrementally into an awareness of its semi-enclosed space.  As this sparse description should suggest, Goerk draws a seemingly endless array of possibilities from a plane and a geometric solid, using only white and another color, that form an interlocking but discrete set of distinct views and Glimpses. For all the geometry and restraint, the experience is analogous to lying in bed with your lover and not being able to see your beloved’s face in its entirety, yet still aware of its varying textures and minute shifts. The intimate scale of these works, which can fit easily inside one’s cupped hands, serves to underscore the artist’s joining of Eros with seeing. And here I would go further and advance that the “instinct for self-preservation” is also at the heart of these works, which reveal themselves by stages and are never fully open or completely visible. Goerk’s ability to isolate a color, as well keep all the parts in play, draws the viewer in. The gallery (or containing space) falls away, as we become acquainted with the box-like forms extending from the wall, at once small and confident.  Time is slowed down and seeing becomes episodic. Give them enough time, and you will become reacquainted with your interior spaces, the nooks and crannies where all sorts of things occur. Goerk enables us to disengage from the hurly-burly world — where distractions are routinely passed off as being important events — and enter a space where reflection is possible. That’s no small thing. - John Yau  (Hyperallergic)


David Goerk received a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art, (1975) and his MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington (1977). He has exhibited in the United States and Europe.  His work is included in many public and private collections—-including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rutgers University, Edward Albee Collection, Arcadia University and the Panza di Biumo Collection (Italy).


ARTCRITICAL David Goerk: White & Black
February 1- 25, 2018
7 February 2018
December 2, 2017 - January 14, 2018
ARTNET NEWS: Editors' Picks: 11 Things to See in New York This Week by Sarah Cascone & Caroline Goldstein, August 7, 2017 Here's what's opening this week, plus a few shows to seek out before they close.