Betty Goodwin's long and distinguished career as an artist has been devoted to the exploration of the figure, which she believes is the prime symbol of the human condition. "What I've tried for more than anything else," she says, "is to get the essence of the figure-figure, meaning being." Goodwin is one of Canada's most renowned artists, who has pursued her expressive and highly individualistic theme for more than forty years.
Betty Roodish was born March 19, 1923 in Montreal, Quebec and passed away in 2008 at the age of 85. As a young child, she loved to paint and draw and received much encouragement for her art from her mother. Following graduation from high school, she pursued her art independently without formal training. Her education and attitudes towards art were fueled by the reading of countless books and many hours spent in local galleries and Museums.
She married Martin Goodwin in 1945. With his support and encouragement, and through her own determination, she was able to nurture her artistic abilities in relative isolation for nearly fifteen years. Working in traditional ways, she explored still lifes, landscapes and life drawing from live models, while at the same time, continuously searching for a personal voice. Frustrated with the lack of growth in imagery, she enrolled in A print making class with Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams University in Montreal during the late l960's. It was there that my artistic career "caught fire" she recalled.
From her first print editions entitled, "Gloves, Vest, Shirt and Hat" and for more than a decade following, Betty Goodwin experimented with collage, assemblage, sculpture, print making, painting and drawing that directly or indirectly addressed aspects of the human form in expressive and highly emotional ways. Strongly influenced by the work of European artists Joseph Beuys and Egon Schiel, she has developed her art into a powerful force of "body suffering." Her imagery now reflects the mindless and unfeeling "atrocities we inflict on ourselves and others" as portrayed through mass media as well as experiences from her personal life.
Betty Goodwin is one of Canada's most important and respected artists. Her work is found in many private and public collections throughout the world, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and in galleries in the United States, England and in Switzerland. She has received many awards and honours throughout her career, including the Quebec Government's Paul-Emile Borduas Prize in 1986 and in 1989 she was selected as Canada's representative at the 20th Sao Paulo International Biennale, in Brazil.