“Popography” is the term contemporary pop-artist Gina Godfrey coined to describe her art permanently on display at the Gina Godfrey Gallery in downtown Toronto.
Open now for two years, the gallery is currently showcasing Godfrey’s exhibit Guess?, which runs until Sept. 11..
Guess? is a collection of her past year’s work. She says the exhibit is meant to provoke thought. Godfrey’s next show Led to Abstraction begins on Sept. 24.
“Most people think it is ‘Led to Distraction’, but it is abstraction because of the abstraction in it,” explains the artist on the play on words.
“My work is pop art based on photography primarily used for the portraits I do. I essentially use mixed media but not in the traditional way. I often take photographs that have already been printed, scan and collage them and then digitally reinvent them.
“It is digitally re-mastered, so the colours, textures, intensities and saturations are changed until I get the effects that I want. Sometimes there are 17 or 18 different layers to it. I produce it using certain methods of giclee, a very high-end, 12 colour process.”
Using her already existing images, including those from pop culture of icons and celebrities, Godfrey transforms images into pop art compositions and prints using the giclee on her acid-free canvases. This elevation in printmaking uses archival quality inks. She says some manufacturers of this ink say it lasts up to 200 years, although she says with a chuckle that we won’t really know.
Godfrey is known for her exemplified bursts of bright colour, which often focuses around her subject’s eyes.
She began her foray into art with a four-year art course at Central Tech at the age of 18. After studying printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1996, her artistic journey began to transform and she hasn’t looked back. She garnered a silver medal from Japan for her handmade printed work. In 2007, she was the first international artist to show at the red-carpeted halls of the Jerusalem Theater with her solo show, Elements of Sand and Water, and at the same time she was honoured to lead the first Canadian mission to Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Foundation.
In addition, Godfrey’s works are on permanent display in the Ohel Moishe Synagogue in Shanghai, China, which was being revitalized as a museum. It is a gift of friendship through ORT and the Canadian government. Her two pieces reflect both the Jewish and Chinese cultures and were part of an exhibit featuring both Jewish and Chinese artists.
“I don’t think being Jewish has much to do with my influences as far as being an artist is concerned. I certainly support a lot of Jewish causes, but I think that is a sidebar to the art. It is just another interest of mine,” says Godfrey. Godfrey is married to businessman and former politician Paul Godfrey, they have three sons, Rob, Jay and Noah, and are expecting their ninth grandchild shortly.
Although her art also hangs throughout North America, including the tony Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Godfrey says she reaches out to a mid-market. “I believe in offering affordable good art for the consumer. I offer archival, museum quality, framed in Larsen-Juhl, which is a very high-end frame maker.
“Things have changed with the advent of photography, computers and digital artwork…it seems sort of ludicrous to sit there and paint a tree in a forest when you can take a much better photograph. I am breaking new ground by using the medium of giclee in a different way than anyone else. I’m breaking new ground [with] this artwork,” she says.