Godwin migrated to Australia from Malta in 1981. After completing a graphic design course at Randwick TAFE in 1987, he worked as a graphic designer for various companies for a number of years. He graduated with Honours in 2004 at the National Art School Sydney, majoring in painting. He also completed a Diploma of Education in Visual Arts at ACU University, Strathfield graduating in 2006.
I have always been intrigued by the idea of memory. Does time play any part in the way we remember our past? Do our memories become distorted as time goes on? In our minds, memories stand as undeniable truths but I have come to see that time plays a major role in shaping our recollections.
This very distortion is the primary idea behind these works. We see huge plants dwarfing tiny buildings in the distance. Giant lizards and insects buzzing around flowers which tower into the sky. I am not dealing with some alien landscape where monsters and flora seem to have taken some other evolutionary path. It is a way of considering this distortion when it comes to the way we remember things from the past.
Although the works are figurative, they are built on very strong abstract elements. There are lines, shapes and grids cutting through open spaces. Straight and diagonal lines similarly slice through sky and sea. These elements do not exist in nature, they are the driving force behind the psychology of the work making the viewer feel calm, energized, uneasy, strange or a combination of all these emotions at the same time. Strong shadows seem to be cast by objects coming from outside the picture plane. While this underlying abstract structural grid holds true of most figurative works, I have allowed these elements to sit right on the surface rather than serve as a foundation that is buried underneath, making them an integral part of the work. – Godwin Laus
These works are primarily inspired by my own past experiences, as well as from literature. The works of British writer John Fowles and also Alain-Fournier’s novel titled “Le grand Meaulnes” helped greatly to clarify my ideas whilst working within this theme. I also have to mention Thomas Hardy, whose novels I have loved since my adolescence. The landscape in Hardy’s works is a major factor that determines the fate of his characters, like a silent protagonist.
Working mostly within the landscape genre, these works deal with places and states that capture the golden moment.
Although they are loosely based on existing places in the real world, they really are there to serve as allegories for states and past experiences that exist only in memory, impossible to return to in reality. Although they are very personal for me, the artist, the idea is that they are open enough to remind the viewer of his or her own golden moments.
I like to refer to these works as visual poems. – Godwin Laus
The relationship between the world around me, the visible world, and what I paint is an ambiguous one. I am not interested in representing the world at its face value in my painting. There are many devices that can do that much better and quicker than I can, cameras, iphones, ipads, can give you the perfect image in one instant. There is no meaning for me to try and create a mere representational picture that echoes the living world. I make use of my surroundings in order to disclose something that comes from within, in response to the world around me. An alchemistic change takes place that involves subject matter, materials, combined with myself and the visual world that changes all these things into something other than what they were at the start.
The line between abstraction or figuration blurs, fades and loses meaning. Another world emerges from a painting, a personal and distinctive world, related to what is seen but not enslaved by it. Line, colour, tone, shape, these are the “senses” of painting. When the painting is viewed from close quarters, another more ethereal quality emerges. The image fades and is replaced by pure and sensory aspects. Paint that is sometimes thick or thin, transparent or opaque, brush stokes that are varied, connecting passages, layers, a variety of shapes that either fuse together or clash, marks, daubs and lines, running and connecting. This is the real soul of the painting. We are living in a time where each artist has to stake out his own space and relevance. He has to create a certain process and progression that is both personal and individual. – Godwin Laus
Contemporary painting retains from its modernist and conceptualist background the belief that every artist’s work should stake out a position that a painting is not only a painting but also the representation of an idea about painting. That is one reason there is so little contradiction now between abstract and representational painting. In both cases, the painting is there not to represent the image; the image exists in order to represent the painting. – Barry Schwabsky, Painting as Art? Vitamin P – New perspectives in Painting
1984-87 Graphic Design Diploma, Randwick TAFE, Sydney
2001-03 BFA, National Art School, Sydney
2004-05 BFA, Honours, National Art School, Sydney
2006 Graduate Diploma of Education, (visual arts), ACU
1994 Alice Doyle Arts Prize, Watsons Bay
1994 Balmain Arts Competition
1995 Finalist, Waverely Council Arts Competition
2001 Painting Competition 2001, NAS
2003 555, Stanley Street, Darlinghurst
2003 Grids, figures and rats, NAS
2003 Degree Show, Cell Block, NAS
2004 Refugees: Artists impressions St George Regional Museum, Hurstville
2004 Honours Exhibition, Cell Block, NAS
2004 Drawcard Exhibition, Cell Block, NAS
2004 Finalsit, Waverley Art Prize, Sydney
2005 Drawcard Exhibition, Cell Block, NAS
2007 Finalist, Waverely Art Prize, Syd
2008 Transitions 08,12 Mary Place Gallery, Paddington
2009 RedArt 2009
2009 Drawcard Exhibition, National Art School Gallery
2010 Dark, light and life, Gig Gallery, Glebe
2010 Finalist, Hornsby Art Prize
2011 ArtFido Art Prize Exhibition
2011 Finalist, Waverely Art Prize,Sydney
2013 The Birds and the Bees, Mils Gallery, Sydney
2013 Finalist, Hornsby Art Prize, Sydney
2016 Solo Exhibition The Lost Domain, Art2Muse Gallery, Sydney
2016 Warringah Art Prize: Highly commended
2017 Northern Beaches Art Prize Finalist
2017 Solo Exhibition Anecdotes, Art2Muse Gallery, Sydney
1994 Alice Doyle Arts Prize (Landscape)
2001 Winner (Avant Garde Section) NAS
2003 Chroma Award for Painting NAS
2007 Waverley Art Prize – Highly commended
2016 2nd Prize, General category