Artwork by Betty Roodish Goodwin,  Parcelled Shoes for the Long Distance Runner

Betty Goodwin
Parcelled Shoes for the Long Distance Runner

soft-ground etching and drypoint
signed and dated “12.70” in the lower left margin
19.5 x 25.75 ins ( 49.5 x 65.4 cms ) ( sheet )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $3,540.00
Sale date: November 20th 2018

Private Collection, Ontario
Arthur Bardo, “Betty Goodwin's Graphics: Minimum Creates Originals”, Montreal Star, March 25, 1970
Rosemarie L. Tovell, The Prints of Betty Goodwin, Vancouver/Toronto, 2002, pages 10-19, 32-33, 141, illustrated page 140, plate 87, for a hand coloured edition signed out of 2 from the first state
Regarded as one of Canada’s premier contemporary artists, Montreal-born Betty Roodish Goodwin created a body of work that reflected her deep concern with the fragile and ephemeral nature of human experience. Largely self-taught, Goodwin focused on painting and drawing in the late 1940s before turning to printmaking as a primary means of expression in subsequent decades of her career. After enrolling in a course taught by Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University in 1968, the artist began refining her technique, incorporating found objects into her innovative soft-ground etchings. Ghostly impressions of vests, gloves, and parcelled garments made on plates placed directly within an etching press, Goodwin’s best-known works from 1970 are not, as a contemporary reviewer noted in the Montreal Star, mere translations of three-dimensional forms into two-dimensional spaces; indeed, they are expressions of “the formal possibilities created by compressing that shallow space.” Haunting and mysterious, Goodwin’s images of disembodied garments incorporate her innovative formal explorations of the medium with her reflections on all too human experiences such as loss, solitude, and mourning.

Like works from her renowned Vest series, Goodwin’s “Parcelled Shoes for the Long Distance Runner” depicts garments as vessels which seem to honour the memory of the body—its presence and its absence—and the passage of time. Rosemarie Tovell discusses how the idea for the print likely originated from the artist’s fascination with a popular photograph of the footprints that astronauts had left in lunar dust during the first moon landing. Created in December 1970, the work is possibly one of three unnumbered black ink proofs pulled before Goodwin began the first state of coloured prints for an exhibition at Gallery Pascal in Toronto in 1971. Wrapping real shoes in paper and pressing them into the soft ground of a zinc plate by running them through the press, Goodwin’s process highlights the artist’s intimacy to things and the things depicted. Like textiles, Goodwin’s printed images function as “second-skins” or intermediaries between human and non-human existence. Speaking about her work in 1970, the artist described how in her practice she sought to illuminate “the inherent gentleness in the intercommunion of oneself with the end, a successful work is the image of our being.”

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Betty Roodish Goodwin
(1923 - 2008)

A renowned Canadian printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Betty Roodish Goodwin (born Montréal, March 19, 1923; died Montréal December 1, 2008) began her career in the visual arts in the late 1940s. Largely self-taught, Goodwin’s practice evolved from drawing to experimentations with other media. Out of her many experimental efforts with mark-making as a student of Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams School (now Concordia) University in the late 1960s, she discovered engraving and etching, which became her primary means of expression. Later, as an accomplished sculptor, painter, and installation artist, she tended to work in series.

Robert Ayre noted, “...I would say she is essentially the painter. She scarcely differentiates her forms; anatomy concerns her no more than it does Jean Dubuffet or Jan Muller. She flattens them out; runs them together. She is conscious always of the human dilemma, the drama of the ‘Dybbuk,’ and the tragedy of ‘Leavetaking’, of ‘The trial’--but not the individual is nameless, part of the crowd, a dissolving member of the eternal flux. It isn’t however, a drab and hopeless tide, for Betty Goodwin’s colour is gorgeous.”

A recipient of several honours, Goodwin was chosen to represent Canada in the 1995 Venice Biennial. Other notable awards included the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1981, the Banff Centre National Award for Visual Arts in 1984, the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas in 1986, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1988, and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 1995. Goodwin was the first recipient of the Harold Town Prize for Drawing in 1998, and in 2003 she received the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. Throughout her career she also received honorary doctorates from various Canadian universities, including the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Montreal.