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Lee Godie: Self Portraits

September 27, 2015 — February 8, 2016
 

Lee Godie

untitled

(1908–1994)
n.d. gelatin silver print and ink
Collection of Scott H. Lang, IL

Installation view of Lee Godie: Self-Portraits at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2015. (Left) Lee Godie, Pillow, c. 1980; mixed media and gelatin silver print on canvas; 16 x 18 in. Collection of Carl Hammer, IL.

Lee Godie

untitled

(1908–1994)
n.d. gelatin silver print
Collection of Scott H. Lang, IL

Lee Godie

Irish Rose

(1908–1994)
c. 1980 mixed media and gelatin silver print on canvas
Collection of Robert Alter and Sherry Siegel, IL

Lee Godie

untitled

(1908–1994)
n.d. gelatin silver print
Collection of Scott H. Lang, IL

Lee Godie

untitled (detail of 12 photo booth self-portraits)

(1908–1994)
n.d. gelatin silver print
Collection of Robert Parker and Orren Davis Jordan, NM

Installation view of Lee Godie: Self-Portraits at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2015.

 

Known predominantly for paintings and drawings in tempera, watercolor, and ink, Chicago artist Lee Godie (1908–1994) favored her own self-image as her principal subject. During the 1970s, Godie began making photo-booth self-portraits, eventually creating several hundred black and white, 5 x 4 inch machine-produced gelatin silver prints. In addition to altering her appearance for these photo sessions, she embellished the photos after they were printed, writing on or hand coloring the background, her body, or her clothing with ink or watercolor.

Godie occasionally attached these photos to her canvases, using them as her signature. In brilliant moves of self-promotion, they were offered as bonuses for buying her works, while marketing her public image as a sought-after artist. In this first solo exhibition of Godie’s work since 2008, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center will present a rich selection of the artist’s self-reflexive paintings and photographs to illuminate a complex and deeply expressive persona.