From a lone figure, four arms protrude, broken or beseeching. It is a macabre image made more unsettling by dangling wires, a box that contains a mysterious object and the hand scrawled words: ARTERIES & NERVES, wires, head detached.
This drawing follows La Memoire du corps series (Memory of the Body) 1990-1995, a series of works exploring the themes of deep loss and the passage from life to death through such subjects as skeletal bones, beds, baths, elongated root-like nerves of the body.
Described by former AGO Director Matthew Teitelbaum as a pillar of Canadian art history, Goodwin was a prolific printmaker, sculptor, painter and installation artist. Her artwork is included in major public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Musèe d’art contemporain de Montrèal.
Goodwin represented Canada at leading international art events including the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennial. She was also the recipient of the Prix Paul-Emile Borduas, the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award of the Canada Council for the Arts , the Harold Town Prize, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. In 2003, she was honored with the Governor General's Award and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
"I deal with the human body..., other times it is like the memory of the body..... I used the sitz bath, the bed, I have used clothes. I guess these are the elements that I need to best express what I am thinking about. But it is true my concerns do take in the body and its various aspects, even in terms of time or passage. It's all concerning humanity." Betty Goodwin, 1995