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By GREG COOK  |  March 5, 2008

New artwork by wife and husband Deborah Coolidge and Harvey Goldman of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, are paired at 5 Traverse Gallery (5 Traverse Street, Providence, through March 15). Coolidge, who teaches at RISD, makes clay sculptures and oil paintings on paper that she sets into carved and painted wood frames. In Stem Cell Grotto, she paints a thicket of purple twig-like structures — perhaps the stem cell molecules of the title. The frame is purple and decorated with brown worm- and kidney bean-shaped things here and there; an eyeless hollow clay head with its top missing sits in a niche in the frame. Coolidge’s efforts in paint and clay are just okay, but her sense of color and sinewy shapes shine in the carved frames.
Goldman, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, offers digitally-rendered giclee prints that seem to be pictures of fields of electric hairs floating in black voids, or perhaps they’re scans of ideas of creatures taking shape in someone’s brain, or maybe they’re ghosts. Tall Glia shows an electric skeleton standing inside a hairy arch; Kephale Concretion2 looks like an ice blue cyclops eye hovering in a cloud of silver electricity; Kephale Concretion3 seems like a magnified bit of spotted animal hide or maybe a peacock feather. Some of the images verge on horror movie camp, but the best ones mix mysterious imagery with a sensitivity to rendering textures, subtle colors, and spatial depth.

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