Veneratio » Uncategorized » Adam Lovasz: Bursting Suns, Shining Absences. Kelly Goss’s Abstract Art
Adam Lovasz: Bursting Suns, Shining Absences. Kelly Goss’s Abstract Art

Bursting Suns, Shining Absences:

Kelly Goss’s Abstract Art

Adam Lovasz

Kelly Goss Sunburst

Kelly Goss: Sunburst, Pebeo mixed media, 6 x 6” – 150 x 150 mm

PDF Download: Adam Lovasz Bursting Suns Shining Absences

The source of art is a form of shining, the need to express itself of an unread reading, the attempt of monads to unleash themselves upon the multiplicity of worlds. These malicious applications work to unfold their compressive forces, overdetermining what belongs to the inspected and uninspected incipient aspects of the rotten sky. That which is comprehensible is always but a fragment of a fiery hyperbola, a quick progression sinking from a momentary order into the heart of chaos. Shining is the sole aspect that seems to have any real content, the shining into quantities of complex interactions. Art eventuates: it is a feature extraction, a selection of elements, a becoming-expressive of materiality, the speaking of Magna Mater. „In the work of art”, to quote Martin Heidegger’s famous essay on the artistic process, „the truth of the being has set itself to work.”[1] This setting is not the result of some intentionality. Rather, it is a process that resides in the standing of the object itself. But can flows be said to „stand”? The very wording of such a sentence would seem counterintuitive at best, downright nonsensical at worst. How can a painting come to enframe the limitless multiplicity of becomings, flows and messy explosions? How can a static art form capture the ecstatic vibrancy of colors themselves?

Such a way of painting (is not all genuine painting a method of waymaking?) would have to entail the introduction of a radical disruption into Being. And if violence „is the abrupt wrenching out of discontinuous existence” as Alphonso Lingis notes, then we must call this mode of painting eminently violent.[2] As opposed to Heidegger’s assertion of the „constancy” of shining, violent painting would constitute a radically heterogeneous and discontinuous mode of visual representation. It is our assertion that Kelly Goss’s abstract art captures the complexity of discontinuous shining explosively and radically. The shining into quantities cannot be followed by any representation. Take for instance Goss’s Sunburst. We cannot know what this painting represents, for the eternal object of its shining betrays any attempt at labelling or concealment. Yet this shining is profoundly discontinuous. It has nothing of the stability of a middle-aged star, destined to shine for billions of years to come. This star is a celestial body in the throes of extinction. Similarly to our knowledge of the consignment of life to oblivion, so we recognize the impossibly implausible frailty of light in a cosmos characterized by limitless darkness. Without limitation, the stealthy, insidious onset of entropy forces the star to expand, until this expansion bursts into a splendid expenditure, a dazzlingly useless display of annihilation. The star is not unlike the body we sink into during the night, the swampy flesh that consumes us, the attractive exterior belying the progressive rotting of all organic matter. Releasement is the embrace of a fatalistic entropy: „every voluptuous embrace is necrophilic, sinking into a body decomposing and cadaverous, already soaking the sheets and oneself with released inner fluids teeming with nameless and chaotic tinglings, spasms, fluids, microorganisms.”[3] If there is one common theme connecting all of Goss’s abstract works, it would be without doubt the striving to capture the shining of nameless, chaotic multiplicity. Once a star opens up onto the limitless night of space, it is no more. Between the onset of the supernova and this „no more”, the impotentiality of unconcealment, there is a brief moment, a purely evental explosion of light. It is impossible to capture all the particular fragments of this burst reality. If we try to penetrate the secret of Sunburst, we shall inevitably fail. In which galaxy is this doomed, dead star located? We cannot penetrate it, for it is the beautiful. It itself is beautiful. Unconcealment is the beauty of annihilation, a beauty that is immediate even in its temporal and spatial distance from our world-level.

Art is the self-opening of the world into unconcealment. But all openness tends to translate itself into the pure immanence of negativity. Between the various empty foldings and unfoldings that constitute the cosmos, there is an „unlimited finity” of pregnant ores that are „actualized only in relation, but are never exhausted by any one relation.”[4] Inside and outside of artistic enfoldment, materials are brought into action through their multiple relations. It is not the work that makes shining „glitter and shimmer”; it is the colors that „shine.”[5] Art is an affordance through which dying stars and rotting bodies perform void-dances. The dances of dying, rotting, almost-dead carcasses are among the most horrid, and yet the most enlivening to observe. When the hero of a contemporary series struggles with an armored zombie, we see the Sun reflected upon the metal coating of this unusual body. The entire situation contains an irreducible element of absurdity. Already, through the wounds of the celestial body, we can clearly discern the absence of all life and light. Slowly but surely, the blackness is spreading across the canvas, until we envision a becoming-black of the entire painting, down to its very frame. All this would proceed in an instant, albeit an instant transmitted to us through telescopes, perhaps tens of thousands of years after the event itself. Sunburst  brings the shining of entropic unconcealment to our attention, without any mediation save that of our computer screen. And yet even the setting of our room seems to change. Influenced by the incipient blackness that pockmarks the canvas, the darkness introduces subterranean folds into the very ground of our perception. Shining for Heidegger is always an appearance, and is therefore fundamentally non-ideal, as Timothy Freeman points out.[6] But the very circumstance of aesthetic impotentiality, the impossibility of meaningful penetration or interpretation is what renders the passive observer of Sunburst literally speechless, devoid of any communicativity aside from the viruses and microbes communicating inside of his or her flesh. Abstract painting is always an act of self-exposure, the explosion of materiality into multiple, independent points, an ultrasounding of the depths. Turning in upon itself, light abruptly involutes into points of autonomy. The organization of the celestial body dies. The organism dies into this non-transversive erasure of meaning. Issues such as the separation of observer from observed are revealed as nonsensical, unresolvable, incapable of reconstruction and unamenable to deconstruction. The organism dies, along with the smashing of the star’s own internal consistency. Excitation is inextricably linked to decay: „although the vacuum is empty and does not exert any forces on the atom, it still interacts with the atom, and this interaction causes the excited atom to decay.”[7] Excitation breeds decay through the loosening of internal bonds. Sunburst smashes any idea of integrity through its non-ideal shining. The nocturnal is the sole remnant that remains in the aftermath of this immense explosion. The nocturnal stays: it is the atmosphere that envelops the bright levels of the cosmos. It is imperative that one heed the call of this night. A place without differentiation would be akin to the realm of death, „a delirious space without levels and consistent dimensions.”[8] The world unveiled by Sunburst is such a realm, a non-ideal nocturnal territory of prescribed, impotentialized possibilities and foreclosed futures.

Kelly Goss Nightshade

Kelly Goss: Nightshade, acrylic, 18 x 14″ – 450 x 350 mm

A fold is the depth of an object’s own shining. Once feeling is smashed, once the glory of the hole in space has been tasted, there can be no more standard variations or compositions, only the surface interactions of disembodied traces of dead stars. Nigredo is not an abhorrence of ending, merely the lurid light of an abandoned, bereft sky. Shades of darkness fade into hidden folds, reconstructing and rebirthing faded consistencies into secret understandings and esoteric malices. Only once occurrence fails to shine, only does the presence of light become transvalued into a gloriously sublime treasure. Any problematic opens up the possibility of the absence of sense and meaning. Problems have what Claire Colebrook, following Deleuze, has called „ideational power”, and serve to „open up an impersonal, inhuman and inorganic time.”[9] The moment a problem actualizes itself into the impossibility of its resolution, it shines through a dark light thick with thingliness. Truths come through mutually disconnected, incoherent monads. Disconnection, in the instance of Goss’s Nightshade, does not presuppose any independent substrate that would connect these deviant entities. The light emanating from these smudges threatens to re-enlighten the canvas, setting the entire painting aflame. In the case of this painting, light operates through its own dismemberment. We may easily imagine a progression from Sunburst to Nightshade. After the explosion, nothing remains aside from dissipation. Yet this dissipation is far from quiet. The absence of light does not guarantee the impossibility of being set aflame. Meister Eckhart explains the illumination of the soul by God through the following simile: „just as if one were to take a candle which had gone out but was still glowing and smoking, and hold it up to the other, then the light would flash down and kindle the other.”[10] Nightshade is in danger of being enflamed by Sunburst. Any ending cannot be considered to be prescribed, for the great glory of this benighted hole seems to be on course for an abyssal reincarnation. The shining is there, even in its absence, even in the very depths of a cavernous abscess. Each process of depth is also a process of folding/unfolding, a play of intermediate stages without end.[11] Once there resided a star within this dark space; now there is but a cavern, an uninspected hole. Abscesses appear through the infinite folds of a universe characterized by the preeminence of dark matter. Tension, once released, becomes an ever-dissolving contraction, dissolving into the core of the „no more.” There is not one element within releasement, but a panoply of germinal matters vomiting their insides into empty space. Every element is predestined to become a nonviolent fold, a color that enters and exits in the manner of a temple built one day and reduced to a state of dilapidation in the space of a millennium. The fold, as John Wylie reminds us, cannot be considered intentional.[12]

When Gilles Deleuze writes that „closure is the condition of being for the world”,[13] he is fully aware of the implications of such an ontological formalization. That which is open is not limited to the realm of life, the realm of the rational: it has all the reality of a demolished high-rise building lying in a state of ruination or sinister shards of a broken beer bottle lying in the park, malignantly waiting for a small, vulnerable child to step upon them… Hardly has a painting ever been as open as Nightshade. There is no tension to be found here, no project, no destiny, and herein lies the genius of Goss’s art. Mobility is replaced by immobilization, yet in a manner that does not preclude the potentiality of movement, the perpetual sliding of one painting into the other, or its unfolding into another artworld altogether. Until now, the lights have escaped us, but can we make our escape from the darkness that unveils itself through enlightenment? Beauty is, above all, a revelation of the shared infrastructure of the world. This enlightening vision communicates the presence of a zone of nonmeaning, what Lingis has called the „zone of the alien.” Such abscesses are effortless foldings of nonaccess, „where the home enters into decomposition.”[14] Within the shining of alien zones, new pieces continually enter into our perceptive field, making of our perception a hollow, cavernous opening. This could very well be the „no more” that is revealed in the darkness of the fold – light as a unit of meaninglessness transported by cosmic winds into resounding depths. Yet this peculiar cavern we see in Nightshade is also, it must be added, not only a suspiciously empty entity: it is, by its very nature, a monad. No monad may be separated from its background, the dark alien zone it blends into: „essential to the monad it its dark background: everything is drawn out of it, and nothing goes out or comes in from the outside.”[15] Is this then a camera obscura of sorts, a closure through which God speaks? If this is so, and Nightshade represents a monad, then we must conclude that openness, even the seemingly limitless openness of death and celestial annihilation, can only arrive as an inner event, an event that is internal even in the shattering fury of its violence. What is revealed through abstraction is the ceaseless coming of the night. Light is a play of mirrors upon the insides of a self-contained monad, a paradoxical productivity that is internal yet relational.[16] Complexity announces a prehension of the usage of this glorious hole. Colors are prehensions, overlooked remnants of broken monads, all situated within a larger monad, in a chain that leads on perhaps to infinity. Supplications of light communicate their mutual lack of access to the revealed, a revelation that only the discerning art conoisseur may appreciate. But is appreciation a one-way street, so to speak? Rather, should we not at the very least speak of a bidirectionality when it comes to the appreciation of artwork? Truly excessive art stumbles upon the alien zone, and continues to fold its fragments long after all perception has returned to decay. The excessive artwork speaks even in the absence of any naming power. What is it that has disappeared into the glory of the hole? We find no mean, no median, no minimum and no maximum: Nightshade contains nothing apart from a maximum of variance. When he defines „nonhuman charisma” in terms of affect, Jamie Lorimer does not go far enough; according to Lorimer’s definition, nonhuman charisma „can best be defined as the distinguishing properties of a non- human entity or process that determine its perception by humans and its subsequent evaluation.”[17] Such a theoretical stance, while distributing beauty and agency across a variety of existents, would nevertheless hold onto a correlation between some form of human presence and the instantiation of affect. Yet if art has any power, then surely this force must reside in its ability to persist even in the absence of human agency. Shining and folding alike are independent of human intentionality. The work of art is a mode of unworking, a perpetual, albeit inconsistent river of chaos flowing into a continuous labyrinth. Art cannot operate unless it slows down the hurtling chaos of cosmic forces undoing themselves; artistic creativity must „slow down chaos enough to extract from it something not so much useful as intensifying, a performance, a refrain, an organization of color or movement.”[18] In Nightshade, we see the virtual absence of movement. This immobilization, however, has been enacted so as to give us breathing time, to prepare us for the next major cosmic eruption. By forcing the observer to wait, the organization of these faded colors allows for an abyssal anticipation of the next advent.

Kelly Goss Emerging

Kelly Goss: Emerging, Pebeo mixed media, 8 x 10″ – 203 x 258 mm

Goss’s work is underlied by the recognition that chaos is never the complete absence of any order. Rather, as Elizabeth Grosz writes, „chaos here may be understood (…) as a plethora of orders, forms, wills – forces that cannot be distinguished or differentiated from each other, both matter and its conditions for being otherwise, both the actual and the virtual indistinguishably.”[19] The indistinguishability of the actual from the virtual is of especially pronounced importance with regards to Goss’s paintings. No organization of color leads automatically to a new actualization. Whether the excess will, in actual fact, spill over into a new painting, whether new stars shall be born from these uncertain mists, we cannot say. What nevertheless emerges, within the alien zone, is „the excremental.”[20] Emerging depicts such a state of swampy, uncertain primordiality. Duration blends with a heaviness beholden to the stirring of purely immanent productivity. Within the alterity of the swampland, there can be no feeling of certainty. The ambiguity of these melting colors seems to point to the salient reality of a rotten, oppressive sun somewhere upon a crimson sky. It is a sky infected by proximity. Extension, once decomposed into the realm of unfamiliarity, denudes and degrades the home into extinction. Beholden to the stirring of the labyrinth, the locality of thingliness caves in, giving way to the meltdown of the levels. Each and every sensuality is a fluctuation, a calculational intrusion, an unfolding of momentary intermediate stages, already shattered in their genesis. On the other side of any series, there may be found an infinite variety of holes. These singularities are already irradiating and sickening the colors of the canvas: they are behind, and irreducible in spite of their intrusiveness. A virtual singularity cannot be reduced to the sum of its effects: it contains an excessive nothingness, a dense blackness that is more real than reality itself. Beneath the revealed, there lies the irradiating, horrific presence of remoteness: „on the other side the shadows or absolute blackness, made up of an infinity of holes that can no longer reflect the received rays.”[21] It is from this chaotic infinity that art draws its life. [22] The life that shines is a manifestation of the absolute inability to reflect light. Life is alertness to the salient reality of absent presence that reduces all to a debridged enfoldment within a life-beyond, a site that belongs uniquely to unworking as an auto-poietic process of depletion. Particles apply themselves to the beautiful truth of their corresponding holes. The remoteness that Deleuze uncovered was the ever tighter dissolution into the glittering shimmering of an inner fire, a turbulence with no end. A crucial point made by Wylie is that for perception, escape from enfoldment is impossible, as the self that imagines itself to be perceiving is itself „intertwined instead within an unfolding differentiation.”[23] The very act of perception is itself an undergoing, a fluctuation that grasps the beautiful for a fleeting moment, only to be erased forever by the onset of the night. What the fold as a concept highlights is the laughable, almost unbearably fatalistic intertwining of a system’s own self-observation and its mode of differentiation. Even the most passive of perceptive acts is, in itself, a furtherance of chaotic differentiation. „Color shines”, states Heidegger, „and wants only to shine.”[24] But color also wants other things. Color also fades, color melts down, color erases itself, as exemplified by Emerging. Color, in this painting, is not coming to life, but rather disappearing beneath the swampland of a Queensland estuary filled with crocodiles hungry for fresh meat. We could very well also entitle this painting: Disappearing.



-Kelly Goss, Sunburst, link:

-Kelly Goss, Nightshade, link:

-Kelly Goss, Emerging, link:


-Colebrook, Claire (2010) Deleuze and the Meaning of Life (London and New

            York: Continuum)

-Deleuze, Gilles (1993 [1988]) The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque (London: The Athlone


-Freeman, Timothy (2013) “The Shimmering Shining: The Promise of Art in Heidegger and

            Nietzsche.” Comparative and Continental Philosophy 5.1, 49-66

-Grosz, Elizabeth (2008) Chaos, Territory, Art. Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New

            York: Columbia University Press)

-Heidegger, Martin (1936) „The Origin of the Work of Art”, in: Heidegger, Martin (2002

            [1950]) Off the Beaten Track (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1-57

-Lingis, Alphonso (1998) The Imperative (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University


-Lorimer, Jamie (2007) “Nonhuman charisma.” Environment and Planning D: Society and

            Space 25.5, 911-932

-Meister Eckhart (2009) The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart (New York: The

            Crossroad Publishing Company) (2017) „Friction in the vacuum?”, link:


-Wylie, John (2006) “Depths and folds: on landscape and the gazing subject.” Environment

            and planning d: society and space 24.4, 519-535


[1] Heidegger, Martin (1936) „The Origin of the Work of Art”, in: Heidegger, Martin (2002 [1950]) Off the Beaten Track (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 16

[2] Lingis, Alphonso (1998) The Imperative (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press), 147

[3] Lingis 1998: 148

[4] Colebrook, Claire (2010) Deleuze and the Meaning of Life (London and New York:Continuum), 105

[5] Heidegger 1936: 24

[6] Freeman, Timothy (2013) “The Shimmering Shining: The Promise of Art in Heidegger and Nietzsche.” Comparative and Continental Philosophy 5.1, 52


[8] Lingis 1998: 67

[9] Colebrook 2010: 61

[10] Meister Eckhart (2009) The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company), 193

[11] Wylie, John (2006) “Depths and folds: on landscape and the gazing subject.” Environment and planning d: society and space 24.4, 522

[12] Wylie 2006: 525

[13] Deleuze, Gilles (1993 [1988]) The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque (London: The Athlone Press), 26

[14] Lingis 1998: 79

[15] Deleuze 1993 [1988]: 27

[16] Deleuze 1993 [1988]: 32

[17] Lorimer, Jamie (2007) “Nonhuman charisma.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25.5, 915

[18] Grosz, Elizabeth (2008) Chaos, Territory, Art. Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New York: Columbia University Press), 3

[19] Grosz 2008: 5

[20] Lingis 1998: 79

[21] Deleuze 1993 [1988]: 32

[22] Grosz 2008: 7

[23] Wylie 2006: 527

[24] Heidegger 1936: 25

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