Beyond Representation

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The 'Twas Just Tartan
tartans, transparent wash, colour, large canvas, grid-like pattern, warp and woof, colour field painting,search for order, spontaneity, the act of painting, painting technique, vivid colour, under-painting, grid system, abstract expressionism, , tartan, abstract expressionism, painting, painting surface,
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I have had a journey you wouldn't believe-- Ted Godwin

Godwin produced his famous ‘tartans’ by layering many transparent washes of  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  on large canvases laid out on the studio floor, rolling a variety of paint colours in grid-like patterns over their surfaces. The resulting works can be compared to a weaving, with the overlapping of the  warpIn weaving, the vertical threads attached to the top and bottom of a loom, through which the weft is woven. (Artlex.com)  and weft. Each small overlapping area could stand alone as a small colour field painting.  CuratorAn individual or group, who conceives an idea for an art exhibition, selects the art works, plans how they will be displayed and writes accompanying supporting materials for the ideas presented. A curator can work freelance or be affiliated with a gallery, and serves as the link between artists and gallery.  Ann Davis states, “I see Godwin’s overriding concern in the Tartans as being a search for order without a loss of spontaneity.”

Godwin’s love of the out-of-doors and fishing is evident in his current work. He paints spectacular vistas of shorelines and depicts highly decorative representations of trees and water, and trees reflected on water. He uses strong vivid colours and is more concerned with the act of  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  than with a philosophical message. His works are about enjoying life and finding utopia. Godwin’s  landscapeA painting, photograph or other work of art which depicts scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers and forests. There is invariably some sky in the scene. (Artlex.com) Landscape is also a term that may also refer simply to a horizontally-oriented rectangle, just as a vertically-oriented one may be said to be oriented the portrait way. (Artlex.com)  paintings are exuberant with colour, movement and pattern, and share similarities with Group of Seven artist J.E.H. MacDonald’s, Tangled Garden.

In many of his landscape paintings, Godwin’s  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)   expressionism(with an upper-case E — the more specific sense) An art movement dominant in Germany from 1905-1925, especially Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, which are usually referred to as German Expressionism, anticipated by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903) and others. See an article devoted exclusivly to Expressionism, which includes examples of Expressionist works, quotations, etc.  (Artlex.com)  roots and the tartan  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  peek through in his under-painting patterns and his use of the  gridA framework or pattern of criss-crossed or parallel lines. A lattice. When criss-crossed, lines are conventionally horizontal and vertical; and when lines are diagonal, they are usually at right angles to each other. Typically graph paper is a grid of lines. Things which are often gridded: tiles, tessellations, wire screens, chess boards, maps, graphs, charts, calendars, and modern street plans. (Artlex.com)  system in the water and its reflections. His works are easy to appreciate as landscape paintings, but on closer inspection, each small section of the surface, like the tartan shown here, has its own charm. Throughout his career as an artist, Godwin has explored the interaction between the  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  of his painting and what lies beneath.

 

additional resources Being Part of the Regina Five
Duration: 1:22 min
Size: 5760kb
Emma Lake and Barnett Newman
Duration: 1:09 min
Size: 5185kb
Interview with Timothy Long - The Regina Five
Duration: 2:30 min
Size: 10694kb
On Not Becoming a Musician
Duration: 1:27 min
Size: 6309kb
Tartan Paintings
Duration: 1:44 min
Size: 7124kb
Why He Came to Regina in the '60s
Duration: 1:28 min
Size: 6161kb
Things to Think About
Online Activity
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Go to the Victoria and Albert Museum and create a tartan of your own.

Studio Activity

About Tartans

Tartans were originally made with woollen cloth. They have been used in Celtic countries far back into ancient times. The cloth was woven on a loom. Coloured threads were strung vertically (warp) and different coloured threads were threaded horizontally (weft) to create the cloth.

Tartan <span><span style= patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  1" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t1_tartan1.jpg" style="float: left;" /> Tartan <span><span style= patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  2" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t1_tartan2.jpg" style="float: left;" />

Create a tartan on paper.  Some examples are here for you to look at, or you can Google “Tartans” for a variety of tartan images as examples.

  • Choose two more colours. Paint a number of thick or thin vertical bands in one colour.
  • Experiment with different colour combinations and varying widths of line

Design a tartan for yourself, your school or community. How will you determine colours that are appropriate?

The Saskatchewan Tartan

Image of the Saskatchewan Tartan from http://sd71.bc.ca/sd71/edulinks/Canada/saskindex.htm

Tartan <span><span style= patternRepeating lines, colours or shapes within a design.  3" class="contextual" src="/assets/images/contextual/t1_sasktartan.jpg" style="float: left;" /> Each Canadian province has an official tartan, including Saskatchewan. The seven colours used in Saskatchewan's Tartan are: red, green, yellow, gold, brown, white, black. Find out what each  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  represents in the tartan. Who originally designed it and why.

To find out more go to The Canadian Heritage site: here

 

 

References

Gessell, Paul.  ‘Tartans All the Rage Again.’  Regina Leader Post, September 23, 2000.

Mastin, Cathy.  Regina Five, Selections from the Glenbow Collection.  Exhibition catalogue.  Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta,1999.

J.B.M.  ‘Painters Arrive at Nature by Entirely Different Routes.’  Globe and Mail, January 31, 1981.

Purie, James.  ‘Ted Godwin.’  Globe and Mail, February 11, 1978.

Pokrant, Luther.  Recent Landscapes: Ted Godwin.  Exhibition catalogue.  Moose Jaw Art Museum, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, 1975.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning