Here is an excerpt from a Maclean's article from 1998 which makes an excellent start in describing her work: Betty Goodwin draws on the skin of things. She makes art with flattened shrouds of disembodied clothes, old vests pressed into paper like dried flowers. She stitches scars onto a black tarpaulin that hangs folded, with ropes dangling, like a stage curtain. She works dark bruises into paper and Mylar. And in her body of work, the body is always making itself felt, as a vessel of memory, the flesh smudged by love or torture. She draws swimmers who may or may not be drowning. Bodies that could be floating or falling. Bones, nerves, phantom limbs illuminated by pain. But behind the dull ache and discreet terror, there is a resilient beauty. And an openness. Her work resonates with echoes of the work being done and undone - the shuddering rhythm of countless erasures, and the presence of penciled figures left unerased from early drafts, like pictographs from past lives.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
betty goodwin 1923 - 2008
Betty Goodwin, Passing Through (Nerves Series), 1994
I've not been on top of the news these days and I have only just learned that Betty Goodwin died on December 1st at the age of 85. Betty Goodwin's work resonates with me in a way that no other work does. I relate to her imagery, I connect with her use of materials, and I respond to her work in a deeply visceral manner. There is recognition on so many levels. It is the intimacy, the fragility, the subtlety, the vulnerability expressed in her work which moves me. Her passing saddens me but there is comfort in knowing that her work will continue to influence the work of others. Including mine.
Betty Goodwin, Black Arms, 1985