Anthony Goicolea: Figure/Ground

Anthony Goicolea, Ruins in the Forest

Anthony Goicolea, Ruins in the Forest, 2011, photograph mounted on aluminum and laminated, 45 x 70.6 inches

Anthony Goicolea: Figure/Ground

January 22–February 22, 2018
Artist's Lecture: Thursday, January 25, 4:30-5:30 PM, LPAC Cinema
List Gallery Reception follows: 5:30-7:00 PM


The List Gallery is pleased to host Anthony Goicolea: Figure/Ground, an installation of photographs and mixed-media works created between 2007 and 2013, including several signature large-scale Cibachrome prints depicting human interventions in nature. The exhibition demonstrates Goicolea's experimental practice and some of the wide-ranging subjects he has explored throughout his career. The exhibition will take place January 22 through February 22, 2018. Goicolea will lecture about his work on Thursday, January 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema. The List Gallery reception will follow 5:30-7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. These free and public events have been made possible by the Department of Art, Swarthmore College.

In the late 1990s, Goicolea earned international attention for a set of digitally manipulated self-portraits. This early work featured groups of young boys, all portrayed by Goicolea himself, performing scenes of an awkward, sometimes grotesque, often comical adolescence. While these photographs expressed an interest in a self-reflexive and diaristic practice, the work that established Goicolea’s career turned the lens onto chilling landscapes that are seemingly devoid of human life and range from lush woodlands altered by human interventions to sites of industrial decay.

Anthony Goicolea: Figure/Ground invites viewers to explore the dichotomy between autobiographical exploration and direct observation of nature, between subject and object, and between interiority and exteriority. Goicolea often uses photographic negatives to examine such dichotomies. For instance, Mother I (2008) is composed of two portraits: one is a graphite drawing on Mylar of Goicolea’s mother as a child rendered as a negative, and the other is a positive Cibachrome print generated from the hand-drawn negative portrait. Here we see both Goicolea’s interest in his personal life as a creative strategy and his interest in the extraction, manipulation, and distortion of human presence–in intimate comparison. Similarly, Goicolea’s Related series is composed of drawn portraits of Cuban relatives from both sides of his family that are attached to outside scenery like trees, walls, and poles located where the artist grew up and lives now–thereby calling attention to the distance between our personal and public lives, and between the past and present.  

Born in 1971, in Atlanta, Goicolea is a first-generation Cuban American who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Goicolea received a B.F.A. from the University of Georgia in 1994 and an M.F.A. in sculpture and photography from Pratt Institute of Art in 1997. Most recently, Goicolea has been the recipient of a Cintas Fellowships (2006), the BMW Photo Paris Award (2005), and a grant from the Joan Mitchell Fellowship Foundation. Additionally, he has been awarded public commissions, including the State of New York’s official monument honoring the LGBTQ community. In addition to photography, his varied practice includes sculpture, drawing, painting, and installation. Goicolea’s work is on display at distinguished institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as the Yale University Art Collection, New Haven, Connecticut; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia.