Life Lit Up

Lee Godie: Self Portraits

September 27, 2015 — February 8, 2016

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.