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News: Artforum | Judith Godwin (1930-2021), June 11, 2021 - Anthony Korner for Artforum

Artforum | Judith Godwin (1930-2021)

June 11, 2021 - Anthony Korner for Artforum

Judith Godwin at her solo exhibition: "An Act of Freedom" at Berry Campbell, New York

WHEN THE ARTIST
 Judith Godwin died on May 29 in her ninety-second year, the art world lost the last living member of a generation of women Abstract Expressionists, a group of artists largely overlooked in favor of their male peers. I lost a dear friend. 

My connection with Judith came about through our mutual friend Julie Lawson, a London art-world personality and assistant to Sir Roland Penrose, one of the founders of the city’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Years later, when I was living in New York, Julie introduced me to Judith, who struck me as a delightful and irreverent Southern lady. What I didn’t recognize at first was how strong a character she was under that lighthearted gentility. At the time, she was celebrating her victory in a court case against a restaurant that was encroaching on her Greenwich Village property. There, in her beautifully tended garden, resplendent with plants she had known and loved in Virginia—including fine camellias and an extraordinary Lady Banks climbing rose—Franz Kline and Ruth Kligman’s cat was a constant presence (they lived nearby). Judith said she was in the habit of giving Kligman a sandwich whenever she stopped by to fetch the animal. Judith also said she had learned a great deal from Kline, especially his late works in color.

Judith was born in 1930 in Suffolk, Virginia, into a distinguished family tracing ancestors back to the state’s first colonial settlers. This was a background she mostly rejected, leaving Virginia after graduating from Mary Baldwin College and what is now Virginia Commonwealth University to become an artist.

With the reluctant blessing of her parents, she moved to New York, where she studied at the Art Students League and later with Hans Hoffmann at his School of Fine Arts and struggled to establish herself. In addition to being a dedicated painter, Judith, to earn a living, had to learn carpentry, stonemasonry, plastering, interior decoration, and landscaping. She was always a welcome and helpful guest in my home, walking around, tools in hand, checking fittings and hinges. In her studio on West Thirteenth Street, she stretched her own canvases and made the frames for her paintings, which were stacked in partitions she constructed and installed. Independence, improvisation, and self-reliance were fundamental to her character.

Judith often spoke to me of the opportunities she had missed as a woman in New York’s 1950s and ’60s art world. She never felt welcome at the Cedar Tavern, that fabled AbEx stomping ground. Once, at a gallery opening early in her career, she was abruptly sidelined by Ellsworth Kelly while trying to speak to Betty Parsons. However, in 1957, she was in the inaugural Betty Parsons Section Eleven Gallery show, and a year later in a group show at Stable Gallery. She went on to be represented by Marisa del Re Gallery, Spanierman Gallery, and, most recently, Berry Campbell Gallery. Her powerful gestural abstractions are in many private collections and have been acquired by the nation’s leading contemporary-art museums.

Still, it always rankled her that her paintings weren’t more widely known or appreciated, especially in comparison to those of her male contemporaries. But she gained recognition for her place in the canon in 2016 with the Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” which highlighted twelve women artists, Judith among them. It pleased her to know that a major reassessment of her work and life had begun—and now it will be ongoing.

Anthony Korner is publisher of Artforum.

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News: Artsy | Eric Dever: Warhol Montauk Project Artsy Viewing Room and Online Exhibition, June  8, 2021 - Artsy | Berry Campbell

Artsy | Eric Dever: Warhol Montauk Project Artsy Viewing Room and Online Exhibition

June 8, 2021 - Artsy | Berry Campbell

Eric Dever: The Warhol Montauk Project
June 8 - August 20, 2021

Online Exhibition

Online Viewing Room

In 2020, Eric Dever was considered to be a project artist at The Andy Warhol Preserve Visual Arts Program in Montauk, New York. The artist created a series of works related to the landscape and the natural world. This opportunity allowed Eric Dever to have a private place to escape the pandemic world. As a result, the artist created this important group of 18 paintings.

Midpoint through the project, Dever turned his attention from Amsterdam Beach to the greater Montauk area. Upon exploration, Dever found a brochure distributed at the Montauk Lighthouse appropriately titled, “The Explorer’s Club,” originally published in the 1950s. Dever learned about the Montauketts, the land, and the people of Eastern Long Island.

In the Warhol Montauk Project series, Eric Dever takes cues from Warhol’s Self-Portrait (1966) pairing primary and secondary colors, as well as employing the use of different shades of the same color on coarse linen and canvas. Dever applies paint on surfaces rubbed into the support, a process known as decalcomania. Decalcomania was explored by the surrealists and a hallmark of Dever’s painting process. Coupled with ample unpainted surface or negative space the paintings themselves at times resemble serigraphy.

Light sensitivity, shadow, temperature and sound are experiences the artist explores, palpable in these new paintings. The paintings can be viewed online at Artsy or at Berry Campbell Gallery, New York.

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News: 16 Museum Directors Show Us the Art That Hangs in Their Offices, FromArtnet News | Richard Armstrong’s Al Held to Zoé Whitley’s Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, June  4, 2021 - Artnet News

16 Museum Directors Show Us the Art That Hangs in Their Offices, FromArtnet News | Richard Armstrong’s Al Held to Zoé Whitley’s Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

June 4, 2021 - Artnet News

James Steward 
Princeton University Art Museum
Walter Darby Bannard, <i>By the River</i> (1967). © 1967, Walter Darby Bannard. Walter Darby Bannard, By the River (1967). © 1967 Walter Darby Bannard.

One of the paintings I love living with in my office is Darby Bannard’s 1967 painting By the River. Bannard graduated from Princeton in 1957, one year ahead of Frank Stella, with whom he experimented with hard-edge abstraction while they were undergraduates. The painting fills the wall, enveloping us in its sunlit colors. —James Steward

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News: Nanette Carter featured in Artsy: New and Noteworthy Artists, June  4, 2021 - Artsy

Nanette Carter featured in Artsy: New and Noteworthy Artists

June 4, 2021 - Artsy

New and Noteworthy Artists

Fresh off the heels of notable solo shows and fair booths, these bright young things are already making waves in the art world. From figurative painters to digital artists, browse a curated selection of works by the next generation of contemporary masters.


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News: Painter Judith Godwin dies at 91 leaving behind powerful pictures, June  3, 2021 - Joan Altabe for blastingnews

Painter Judith Godwin dies at 91 leaving behind powerful pictures

June 3, 2021 - Joan Altabe for blastingnews

Part of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Godwin was challenged by the male-dominated art world in the ‘50s

“Images generated by the female experience can be a powerful and creative expression for all humanity.”

Gender gap
That was painter Judith Godwin talking at Northern Michigan University in 1978. She died on May 29, 2021, at age 91. But it’s unclear why she believed her images were confined to the female experience because they so plainly transcend gender.

As an Abstract Expressionist, Godwin’s thrusting swaths of paint recall the big, bold paintings of Franz Kline, who favored vertical, horizontal, and diagonal slashes. Her work showed a similar pattern at times, Epic, Epic 2, Black Pillar, and Black Support.

I also recognize elements of Robert Motherwell’s pictures in hers.

Lessons learned
The connection between Godwin’s Abstract Expressionism and that of her male colleagues may stem from having studied with the same teachers. Including Hans Hoffman, of whom she said, “I think the main thing with Hofmann was that I felt completely free to do whatever I wanted to do.”

And what she wanted to do was be bold. According to the Johnson Collection Gallery, which carries some of her work, Hoffman’s use of bold colors “significantly influenced Godwin’s future work."

But finding her place in the male-dominated art world remained an issue for Godwin. An obituary from Berry Campbell Gallery, representing her work for the last ten years, reflected this by noting her “well-deserved place in the male-dominated world.”

The same point was made by the Johnson Collection, saying that because the Abstract Expressionist movement was so full of men, not many women got known.

Come to think of it, even when Lee Krasner became known, and she may have benefited from being Jackson Pollock’s wife.

Female experience
Female artists in other art movements besides Abstract Expressionism faced the same predicament. Underscoring the point that the art world was a men’s club, Sotheby’s just reported its most successful sale in an all-female art auction was a portrait by Francois Gilot of her daughter - one of two children she had with Pablo Picasso.

One can’t help wondering if the record sale had something to do with that relationship.

Lisa Stevens, head of Sotheby’s modern art online, seemed to confirm the point by telling ARTnews, “It isn’t commonly known that Gilot’s commitment to art was present long before her relationship with Pablo Picasso, and she was sadly often left in his shadow.”

Weaker sex?
So, it’s not surprising that Berry Campbell Gallery would place Godwin in a “contingency of strong female practitioners.” There wouldn’t be a need to invoke the words “strong female” unless being a female artist suggested weakness.

Godwin admitted that she felt pressured to create powerful, turbulent work to compete with her male counterparts for critical and commercial attention. The Johnson Collection quotes her saying, “If you were a [woman] painter in that period, you felt you had to paint as strongly, as violently as the men did.” 

 
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News: Spotlight on the Arts: Eric Dever, Artist, June  3, 2021 - Spotlight on the Arts

Spotlight on the Arts: Eric Dever, Artist

June 3, 2021 - Spotlight on the Arts

News: Surface Magazine Design Dispatch | Edward Zutrau: Mandarin (Paintings from the 1950s), June  2, 2021 - Surface Magazine

Surface Magazine Design Dispatch | Edward Zutrau: Mandarin (Paintings from the 1950s)

June 2, 2021 - Surface Magazine

The first exhibition of the abstract expressionist painter’s works since his death, in 1993, “Mandarin (Paintings from the 1950s)” showcases how Zutrau blended precepts of the New York School with a strong physicality—geometric spatial divisions and strong gestural marks—to draw viewers into both the feeling and contemplation of movement. 

View Design Dispatch

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News: In Memoriam: Judith Godwin (1930-2021), June  1, 2021 - Berry Campbell

In Memoriam: Judith Godwin (1930-2021)

June 1, 2021 - Berry Campbell

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Judith Godwin (1930 - 2021). Godwin was an innovative artist, who fought hard for her well-deserved place in the male dominated world of Abstract Expressionism. A painter for over seventy years, collectors, curators, and museums increasingly have acknowledged Godwin’s achievements in the past five years. She was among twelve artists included in the groundbreaking exhibition, Women of Abstract Expressionism, held at the Denver Art Museum, curated by University of Denver professor Gwen F. Chanzit. Included in numerous major museum collections, recently her works have been acquired by countless museums such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Mougins Museum of Classical Art, France; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; and the Sheldon Art Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, among many others. Godwin was a playful raconteur and a passionate advocate for women in the arts. We feel fortunate to have worked closely with Judith Godwin for over ten years, and we will miss her sharp wit, her friendship, and her boundless energy and creativity.

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