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The Belanger Suite
Regina Five, print, lithograph, work on paper, line drawing, indication, juxtaposition, contrast, text, hierarchy, decorative font, nature versus human culture, nature, organic imagery, elements of landscape, decorative, complex line, transitionary work, design, drawing, colour, lithograph, line, text, watercolour painting,
description

This work by Godwin, The Belanger Suite, represents a time of change in his practice, as he turned from fully  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)  tartan-based work towards his current practice of  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)  painting. By combining line, text and nature drawing/painting, this  printAn exactly repeatable visual statement which exists as two-dimensional physical material.  incorporates elements of Godwin’s work that came before it, and the work that would come after.

A painting is finished when to have done less would be considered a sin and more, a crime. -- Ted Godwin

Initially, viewers of this work might notice the juxtaposition, in this case the incorporation of different elements as a way of contrasting them. The top portion of the work is entirely white with the exception of a piece of text that reads, “The Belanger Suite.” The text is written in a decorative font, so decorative that it is difficult to read. A green  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (Artlex.com)  divides this section from the lower portion of the print, which also features a white background, fronted by a  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  of gnarled, barren tree roots and branches.

Colour is used sparingly in this work, and really only appears in the dividing  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (Artlex.com)  and a few of the roots and branches. The starkness of the white  backgroundPart of the picture plane that seems to be farthest from the viewer.  in this piece and the  intensityBrightness or dullness of a colour. Intensity can be reduced by adding the colour's complement.  of the black used in the text and drawn lines generate an  atmosphereThe portion of air in any locality, or affected by a special physical or sanitary condition; as, the atmosphere of the room; a moist or noxious atmosphere. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary).  Also, the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth; the air. The dominant mood or emotional tone of a work of art, as of a play or novel: the chilly atmosphere of a ghost story.   of cleanliness, or even sterility, to the image. If we read Godwin’s work as a hierarchy, something which places one thing above others, then he may be suggesting that the fancy font naming a luxury hotel suite, which represents wealth, is divided by an impenetrable barrier. On the other side of that barrier is a natural world, in decay.

This is one of several possible readings, but the simultaneous  juxtapositionCombining two or more objects that don’t usually go together to cause the viewer to consider both objects differently.  and division of natural and organic  imageryAn image is a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images. (Artlex.com)  with the cold refinement of the text suggest that the idea of difference is central to this work.

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
Studio Activity

Life experiences

Ted Godwin’s The Belanger Suite represents a time of change in his practice, as he turned from fully  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)  work towards  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)  painting.

  • Think of two things that you have encountered in your life that come from or represent entirely different aspects of life or experience.
  • Draw or paint a picture that combines these into a single image.
  • Pay special attention to how these two elements or things will visually exist in your work.
  • Will they be given equal visual weight?
  • Once you are finished, have a partner or a fellow student perform a reading of the work by trying to decide which elements of your experience you are trying to combine or juxtapose, and why.

 

Draw what you see

  • Find a natural setting, or an organic object in your home.
  • With pencil or pen and paper, do as detailed a drawing as you can of this setting or object.
  • Make sure while you are doing your drawing that you draw what you see rather than what you think the setting or object is supposed to look like.
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