Remembering Artist Lynne Golob Gelfman

Reflecting on the late artist's legacy, life, and works left behind

“The artisan has a plan, but they’re free to meander and do what they want. The spirit of that is deeply embedded in everything I do,” Lynne Golob Gelfman, lifetime artist and self-proclaimed trickster, told us in 2018 ahead of a solo show at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. It was here, in the very same city, that Gelfman lived and worked until her passing this week. With a playful spirit and a rebellious work ethic, she forged a legacy—a BA in 1966, an MFA in 1968, and 40+ solo shows and gallery acquisitions that followed—that transcends mere appreciation of her work. She represented much more, and serves as inspiration for passionate individuals like her.

Any time Gelfman began a piece, she explained in the aforementioned interview, “the trickster enters.” A traditionally trained artist and an alumna of the New York City art scene, she regularly broke convention and long-standing “rules” to service her intentions. She’d paint on the backs of canvases; she’d test the limits of the surfaces she worked on, and frequently toyed with the idea of order, oftentimes to the point of patterns—many of which were influenced by her appreciation of Colombian basket-weavers—losing their sense of it.

“They were all based on a plan,” Gelfman told us about her work. “And then it’s sort of a game of chance—how much you can control and how much you can let go.” Perhaps unintentionally, she laid out a wise theory on living, and her last days were indicative that her words were more than appealing statements, but rather a deeply ingrained code. Gelfman, as she did most days prior, spent her final hours working on new paintings, and producing artworks that defied expectation.

Images courtesy of Lynne Golob Gelfman