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Goodwin’s paintings of roses, gardens depict metaphors for the body and mind

August 20, 2012

Photo courtesy Charlestown Gallery Artist Amy Goodwin celebrated the opening of her “Signs of Life” exhibit at the Charlestown Gallery last weekend. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 3 at 5000 South County Trail in Charlestown. For more information visit www.charlestowngalleryri.com.

CHARLESTOWN – Artist Amy Goodwin celebrated the opening of her “Signs of Life” exhibit at Charlestown Gallery last weekend.

More than 150 people attended the opening reception to see Goodwin’s eclectic work.

In her paintings, Goodwin’s admitted obsession with roses, gardens, campfires and rabbits is clear; all four are well represented in her work.

Why the roses and the gardens?

“Gardens represent what’s going on in my head,” she said. “Gardens are a metaphor for my mind.”

The roses she attributes to a line from a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem.
Emerson’s poem, “Hamatreya” reads:

“Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.”

To Goodwin this is indicative of the notion of living in the moment.

“I live in a complex reality of motherhood and daughterhood,” she said in her artist’s statement. “I am witness to teenage brains that are forming and elderly brains that are in decline. This has made me realize that life is held together by fragile membranes, and that the notion of self is really a process and not something fixed.”

She portrays this fragility in the flowers, particularly roses, which she says decay as soon as they bloom.

This is Goodwin’s third exhibit at Charlestown Gallery. Her brightly colored paintings, which seem to “pop,” due to a technique Goodwin uses called “figure ground” to create the appearance of depth in her works, will grace the walls of the gallery’s main room until Sept. 3.

She also works with separate painted or airbrushed elements and then collages her paintings together.

“The works are determined by the decisions that arise along the way,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 with a degree in industrial design. She went on to work as a designer, creating designs for shoes and toys, before attending Yale University to study painting. She graduated from Yale with a master’s in fine art in 1994.

Goodwin is also a teacher of foundation studies at RISD. During the summer she spends time in South County, as she has for many years.

If you go

“Signs of Life” can be seen at Charlestown Gallery through Sept. 3. The gallery, located at 5000 South County Trail, Charlestown, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information on the gallery visit www.charlestowngalleryri.com or call 401-364-0120. For more information on Amy Goodwin visit her blog at http://amygoodwin.typepad.com.

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