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a blog of painting, abstraction, and contemporary art
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Judith Godwin Early Abstractions

Judith Godwin

Judith Godwin Early Abstractions
September 3, 2008 – January 4, 2009, Tobin Theatre Arts Gallery, Brown Gallery, www.mcnayart.org

The earliest paintings in the show resemble cell structures, with graphic black lines defining the interlocking forms within a matrix of colors that seem to refer to cubism. Another early work, “Nucleus IV,” contains references to the nude figure. “Male Study” and “Woman” are more complex arrangements that resemble early de Kooning. But more neutral space became a key part of her style when she began to experiment with pours and stains, such as “Ode to Kenzo,” which introduces an element of Asian minimalism.

Gradually, her style becomes looser, more painterly and more dramatic. “Purple Mountain” has a peak punching through the top of the picture plane, with the landscape defined by broad, dark brushstrokes. “Night” and “Blue Storm” use dark blues and blacks with accents of gold and brown to suggest the fierce energy of nature. “Black Cross” features a soaring black cross with a broken arm.

A few of the strongest works deal more with psychological states, such as “Longing.” More horizontal paintings with dramatic dark blotches against a white background such as “Into the Depth” and “Maze” seem to be maps of the artist’s subconscious, with dark, violent emotions pushing and pulling against a curtain of light. In these later paintings, Godwin pared down color and emphasized dramatic brush marks.

However, as Sims explains in his essay, while Godwin’s early work seemed to avoid anything that can be described as feminine, her more recent work has more womanly touches — introducing collage elements, such as black sequins and ribbons set into the pigments, and using rounder, more organic shapes. She also uses lighter colors. {Read More…}

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