The Drawers - Phyllis Godwin   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Phyllis Godwin has always been a drawer and her fanciful dolls and fairies co-existed within the milieu of The Regina Five (she is married to Ted Godwin). This form of fanciful, flat, yet detailed depiction of figures with an invented ethnicity and style have come under scrutiny and garnered significant recognition recently in the work of the new drawers, The Royal Lodge and Marcel Dzama for instance. Phyllis Godwin's stylized and decorated females, enduring with admirable consistency as the rest of the art scene changed several times around her, ring with a truth that is as honest as Ukrainian eggs and braided bread.

There is an implied narrative but only the initiated can completely decipher Phyllis Godwin's secret story line. There is an aura of lore with ritual practices that these spindly sprites partake in for they are dressed up and either ready to go or well on their way. There is a common sense of costume, but it can't be traced to a specific culture. Phyllis Godwin has invented a cross between fashion and protection, a feminine armor. There are leg pads that seem to button behind, protecting the fairies' long legs so that they can continue to perform amazing contortions, twisting upon themselves like Celtic knots or macramé. Ropes, ribbons, laces, braids, florets and baubles form patterns with symmetry and ordered design displayed in absolute repetitive perfection. There is a perspective akin to the shallow dimension that was understood when the shift was first made from medieval to renaissance - a Giotto-like space. There is a formality that holds the flitting, happy, whimsical dolls in check with the order imposed by formal gardens where trees are trimmed into circles or the world is held in place by meticulously rendered borders.

There is no sense of time, no historical definition for these airy females. The dress is a mixture of ancient and modern, the stylization is as contemporary as comics and yet seemingly rooted in traditions. It is a world occupied by feminine delight.

Copyright © 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers