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Brave Heart: Natalie Bonnie Dubin [now Bonnie Goetz]

at the Brookline Arts Center

The Weekly Dig, March 13, 2002,

by Brett M. Rhyne


Painter Natalie Bonnie Dubin [now Goetz] has a gift for imbuing flora with great depths of feeling. Her accomplishment is even more impressive when we consider her choice of subject: not flowers, but dying leaves, overgrown vines and vegetables both nascent and ripe. She further impresses because, in stark contrast to so many over-intellectualized or overly repressed artists working today, Ms. Dubin [now Goetz] is not afraid to express honest emotion. She understands courage comes from the French cœur, meaning heart.


Two of her smaller oils are among the most touching. Embrace features a wilting head of Romaine, with a senior leaf enveloping and comforting a junior; the work recalls a relationship without anthropomorphizing. Falling features a curled and shriveled brown leaf drifting downward against a sky of deep blue. Suggestions of a fetus, replete with stem-umbilical cord, and shadowy background figures disquiet and even wrench. The other sensitively rendered leaves in this series all evoke aspects of the heart: Folding, fragility; Spine, resiliency; and Leaf Organ, biology.


A third, medium-sized oil is powerfully expressive. A knit of fresh, green stems and leaves rests toward the bottom of a stormy environment; the foreground’s definition contrasts with the background’s fuzziness. The scene evokes a fragile security in a threatening world. At first glance, the subject resembles the tumbleweed-like growths featured in several of the artist’s works. Upon learning the painting’s title, though—Home—we must see the subject as a nest: not the empty, exhausted husk of autumn, but the expectant, vital womb of spring.


In her past work, Ms. Dubin [now Goetz] articulated emotion by lavishing canvases with an abundance of paint. By emphasizing subject over surface, these newer works move her away from Abstract Expressionism and toward the Expressionist still lives of which she is so fond. In doing so, Ms. Dubin [now Goetz] gives us all the courage to feel.


Internal Gestures, Brookline Arts Center,  86 Monmouth Street. Show runs through April 1, 2002.

Reception March 20, 6- 8pm. 617.566-5715


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