by George Hildrew
Brooklyn, NY 2004



AutobiographyDesire brings together the paintings of Beverly Rhoads and Robert Godfrey, allowing viewers to examine certain affinities and concerns between their paintings. The collaboration reflects a dialogue that began when Rhoads studied with Godfrey in the Art Department at Western Carolina University during the late 1980s.

The loaded-with-paint brush and its generalized mark to indicate representational presence is apparent in the work of both artists. For Beverly Rhoads, the viscosity of the paint grows out of a spontaneity of touch invigorated by the perceptual situation. For both Rhoads and Godfrey the painting reveals an identification between the artist's movement applying the paint and the movement of the human subject. For Godfrey, the movement seems participatory: Godfrey moves as the figures move. Rhoads watches the figures lean, bend and stretch while she gives her paint the flexibility to mark that movement.

There is an instantaneousness of time. Rhoads' work occurs during a sun dappled Edenic afternoon. The figures luxuriate in the light of day. The Autobiography—Desire becomes the desire for the identification with the light and the day - to become one with it. The faceted marked planes of color begin to build the form sculpturally, but before this occurs, the similarity of mark between figure and ground binds the figure to the ground and to the prevailing locale sharing the drenched light. As with the light so with the water, the figures perform a kind of lustral rite merging and emerging, stepping into and out of, robed and disrobed seeking a pantheistic unity with both water and light.

Godfrey's paintings define a place in space where figures fall, dive, dance and lift where their feet are off the ground and groundless. Their bodies make calligraphic gestural lines across the surface, creating a place on the canvas where that which isn't of the body can reside in a state of pure movement.

It is a place of blazing light in the dark of night with restless silhouetted figures moving with gestures as big as a leap or fall and as small as a touch or kiss. A concern is shown for the blotch of light or shadow that creates the passing movement of these fictional beings of light and dark escaping, revealing, hiding, emerging thru light, land and woods. He presents all in the marking of the surface, the gestural graffiti of his rhythmic signage, the responsive mark that is the indicator of a speed with which events occur and feelings happen.

For both artists, these are the autobiographies to desire.