Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Betty Goodwin: Work Notes

September 22, 2010 to April 24, 2011

absolute standout ... a quietly intimate stunner ... deeply affecting, moving and genuine revelation”Toronto Star

This exhibition features more than 85 of Betty Goodwin’s notebooks, a promised gift to the AGO’s special collections.

For almost half a century, Montreal artist Betty Goodwin created powerful images of fragility and survival. She worked and reworked drawings, ideas, and materials. Goodwin was a collector as much as a creator. Her studio was a living archive – a constant source of inspiration and ideas, filled with objects meaningfully arranged. Throughout her life, she also made notes and collected quotes, objects and photographs in numerous notebooks – her most important and very personal possession. Her notebook was her portable studio. In the studio, the notebooks were her creative mine, the main source of her recurring images and themes. It was her wish to donate them to the AGO’s archives upon her death. For the first time, more than 85 of her notebooks are exhibited alongside a few major works.

In addition, 25 of her printing plates, never before seen publicly, are also on display. Goodwin’s breakthrough as an artist took place in the late 1960s in the printmaking studio. Instead of drawing on the plate, she took the working gloves she was wearing, placed them on a carefully prepared printing plate and ran them through the press. The result was immediate and liberating. The gloves were followed by other objects such as vests, nests, notes, and parcels. Her complete process is on view: the actual parcel, the printing plate and the final print. Usually, plates are destroyed to limit the number of prints made. Goodwin kept her plates and in 2005, she entrusted the AGO by donating them to the archives. While no more prints will ever be created from these plates, they provide a unique opportunity to learn about her work.

Visitors also have a chance to flip through selections of her notebooks which have been digitized, as well as listen to first person accounts of what it was like to be in Goodwin’s studio.

Kitty Scott on Betty Goodwin

Recorded: Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Duration: 1:06:45

Blog: Sneak-Peak, Betty Goodwin.Work Notes

Curated by Georgiana Uhlyarik, the show features nearly 100 of the artist’s sketchbooks — a promised gift to the AGO’s special collections.

Blog: Getting to know Betty Goodwin

Goodwin is one of Canada’s most acclaimed artists of this past century, and for good reason. In her five decade long career, she worked and experimented with a variety of media (drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture) with remarkable determination and dedication.

Betty Goodwin: Work Notes includes works from the AGO’s permanent and archival collections; and is generously supported by smART women. Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Share and Enjoy: