GODFREY - Lewis and Clark Community College's Hatheway
Cultural Center Art Gallery will soon feature the rich, resonating
paintings of American artist Winifred Godfrey.
The retrospective exhibit, "Winifred Godfrey: 40 Years of
Painting," will feature oil and watercolor paintings, drawings and
lithographs, including figurative work, paintings which depict the
distinctive textiles of the Mayan people of the Guatemalan
Highlands, and floral pieces.
"What interests me primarily in painting floral forms is the
delicate and temporary quality of the blossom," Godfrey said.
"Although the canvases are painted realistically, the flower is the
starting point for an abstract study of the luminosity and
transparency of the individual petal. I try to accomplish this
through the magnification of the plant form itself in a tight
design, and make a dynamic spatial relationship of this form with
the rectangle of the canvas."
A public opening for the exhibit will take place from 3-6 p.m.
on Sunday, Sept. 15. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 6
p.m. daily through Saturday, Oct. 12. On Oct. 12, a closing
reception will be held from 3-6 p.m.
"The college is grateful to Winifred Godfrey for providing us
the opportunity to organize an exhibition that covers four decades
of her work," said Jim Price, professor of art, history and culture
at Lewis and Clark. "It is a unique opportunity for people to see
the amazing breadth and depth of her art. This is a show that will
enhance the offerings of the college and increase our perception of
what excellence is."
The exhibit of Godfrey's art, which graces the Lewis and
Clark's Godfrey campus in both the Templin Nursing Building and the
Trimpe ATC, will provide local residents and art patrons from the
Chicago area with the opportunity to see more than 100 pieces of
her extensive work spanning four decades. This is the first time a
display of Godfrey's work of this scope and size has ever been
exhibited in the United States.
Godfrey brings a decidedly 20th century look to the long
tradition of floral and figurative painting. Her work is often
described as photorealistic, although her interest is more with
color and composition. Working with common subjects but presented
large, Godfrey's art provides a fresh view of the intricate shapes,
texture and translucency of flowers. Her figurative work is
presented in a unique, life-sized format.
Born in Philadelphia and raised on Chicago's south side,
Godfrey received a Bachelor of Science in Art and a Master of Fine
Arts from the University of Wisconsin. Her artwork is included in
many private, corporate and museum collections and has been
exhibited throughout North America.
Among Godfrey's more notable exhibitions are one-woman shows
at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Penn., the
University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, Penn., the
Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., the Rahr-West
Art Museum in Manitowoc, Wis., and the David Rockefeller Center for
Latin American Studies at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.
Godfrey's work was presented with that of Georgia O'Keefe and
Marc Chagall at an exhibit of 20th century flower paintings at the
Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She has also exhibited at
the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she won the Flora Exhibition
Award of Excellence. Other awards to her credit are the State of
Illinois Library Competition and First Prize out of 4,500 floral
entries in The Artist's Magazine Floral Competition. More recently
she was awarded the Municipal Art League's Award of Excellence for
her entire career and body of work.
This spring Godfrey exhibited her "MAYAN PROCESSION" at the
Chicago Cultural Center in the Renaissance Court Gallery. In the
last several years she has been working on a series of figurative
paintings of highland indigenous of Guatemala. Each canvas depicts
a different village and costume. There are currently 14 life-size
oils that are exhibited in sequence and called "MAYAN PROCESSION."
"In the early eighties, Guatemala began to have enormous
political problems that had a direct and devastating effect on the
very groups that I found so beautiful and compelling," Godfrey
said. "Following the information about the political situation in
Guatemala made me want, all the more, to say something about these
indigenous people. My intentions changed from seeking to record an
impression of something ancient and beautiful to a desire to
educate others about the potential devastation of a living culture
that preserves one of the only true links to our pre-Columbian
Along with painting flowers, Godfrey plans to finish four more
Mayan pieces to complete the series. The exhibit has actual
textiles, photos and other educational material to accompany the
paintings. A unique addition to the exhibit is a sawdust carpet
called an "Alfombra" which is a special tradition in Guatemala
before processions. The "MAYAN PROCESSION" has been exceptionally
well received in various museums and educational institutions
throughout the country.
For more information about the exhibit, "Winifred Godfrey: 40
Years of Painting," call Louise Jett at (618) 468-3220 or visit