(South African, 1942-2012)
Trevor Goss was an experimental contemporary artist in painting and sculpture who graduated with distinction from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at Cape Town and studied at the post- graduate level at the Hornsey School of Art in London. His work is in collections worldwide.
At various points in his five-decade career Trevor Goss had studios in Cape Town, London, Ibiza, Santa Barbara, Marina del Rey, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. During and after graduating Michaelis, he exhibited his painting and sculpture at the Wolpe Gallery in Cape Town and the Henry Lidchi Gallery in Johannesburg. Goss left Cape Town for London in 1967 and continued to paint there for six years before departing for Spain where he painted for four years on the island of Ibiza. Goss then returned to Cape Town where he established an art studio and sculpture foundry.
In 1979, out of concern for the well-being of his family and pained by what was happening in his country—symbolized by the injustices represented by Robin Island, which was in view of his studio, where the great Nelson Mandela was then incarcerated—Trevor Goss left South Africa and did not return again until he visited for a month in 2010. In the intervening years, Goss established himself in the United States where he exhibited nationally, including Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Chicago, Palm Springs and, finally, in Palm Desert where he opened a gallery on El Paseo in the year before his death.
During his earlier time in Cape Town and London, Trevor Goss had also painted murals and created installations for the theatre, for nightclubs, and for establishments such as Mary Quant’s store on Carnaby Street. Later, starting in 1996, employing his own unique applications of light-refractive, color-changing holographic material, a technique he perfected during his time in London, Goss established a business where he produced large scale installations for the entertainment industry. It was also in this perfecting of his holographic technique that Trevor Goss gained the attention of artist Kenneth Noland who visited Goss’ Santa Barbara studio to observe his process. In 1996 and again in 1998, Kenneth Noland commissioned a series of canvases from Trevor Goss to which Goss applied his unique light-refractive, color-changing holographic treatments.
The entertainment design projects to which Trevor Goss contributed his talents included the AT&T Pavilion at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where he not only created a thirty-foot refractive color-changing mural, which he produced on site over the course of six weeks, but also two enormous flame cups he finished with his signature material that marked the pavilion’s grand entrance. And, at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, it was a stage of “ice,” designed by the renowned Jeremy Railton and rendered in Trevor Goss’ unique light-refractive and color-changing holographic material, on which Savion Glover danced. Railton, Founder and Chairman of the Entertainment Design Corporation, was also the award-winning designer behind the AT&T Pavilion.
Concert and tour sets to which Trevor Goss also contributed his talents included two fifty-foot murals of holographic trees for Sting in Central Park, a holographic dance floor for Cher’s Living Proof Tour, huge holographic umbrellas for a Jane’s Addiction tour, along with numerous others, and television show sets included over ten-thousand square feet of Goss’ signature light-refractive, color-changing materials that covered Oprah’s $10 million television theater in Chicago—designed by Consortium Studios, the award-winning production design company owned by Trevor’s son, Anton Goss—and so much more. Trevor Goss’ wife, Mary Silverman, worked with him in his business for ten years, gaining first-hand knowledge of his large scale work for the entertainment business as well as an up-close view of his painting and sculpture process. It was to her that he recounted the stories of his magnificent life and career.
On many of the entertainment design projects, Trevor Goss was tapped by Railton, whom he’d met at Michaelis in 1962. The two left Africa together and, says Railton, “somehow both ended up in Los Angeles not breaking a continuous line of friendship.” He adds, “Trevor’s style and attitude remained the same for his entire career. Intellectual, experimental, abstract and controlled.” Railton continues, “His ability to search and apply new techniques to his canvases has dkept me fascinated for the duration of our entire friendship.”
Railton recalls that while their artistic paths split as he “seemed to gravitate toward entertainment and set design, while Trevor stayed on his original artistic course,” over the years Railton says he was able to take advantage of Trevor’s talents which he was able to utilize to enormous success in architecture, television and live concerts. On countless television shows and sets that Railton designed, he says, “Trevor’s coloring and refractive materials added an unusual visual twist.”
Trevor Goss embraced a world of light. Informed by an unparalleled knowledge of color and technique, Goss’ paintings are not only about light, they are light.
And, in Trevor Goss’ use of light refractive materials, applied to the canvas by many different methods, the pristine surface is, in words he wrote describing his work, “dematerialized from solid to kinetic,” creating light like a rainbow, and changing color fields are conjured. More than a moment in time, Goss also wrote, “the diffraction of light is time in motion.”