GoodwinCarbon Betty Goodwin, Carbon, 1987.

Betty Goodwin


Chosen by: Bruce Wiedrick, Gallery exhibitions coordinator.


“In the late 80’s I had the privilege of working on a large travelling retrospective exhibition of Betty Goodwin’s work.  Betty at that time was already a senior Montreal artist and I was a young preparator, only familiar with a strange work of hers in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection called “Tarpaulin.” It is a full-size old truck tarpaulin that is folded in a specific way and hung from a heavy metal rod. I loved this work. To me it was sculpture, found object and painting all at the same time. And it also gave off a real musty odor. When I met Betty during the installation, I was shocked to discover a somewhat frail and delicate woman who did not seem to me like the person who would have created “Tarpaulin”.  As the exhibition was uncrated and installed, I began to discover more of her oeuvre and the powerful works she created. I instantly became attracted to her very large scale drawings of swimmers and floating figures. “Carbon” is one of her iconic works. To this day, these gestural human forms move me every time I see them. She had the ability to mix transparency and lightness with density and heaviness all at the same time and create monumental expressive works that speak strongly to me of the human condition.”    

Betty Goodwin, Carbon, 1987. pastel, graphite, oilstick, wash on geofilm. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Gift of Martin Goodwin.

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