LEE GODIE (1908-1994, USA)
Lee Godie (Jabot Emily Godee) was born in 1908 and she lived most of her life in Chicago. After the failure of her two marriages and the death of two of her four children, she became an homeless on the streets of Chicago.
Godie could be seen on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, worked in a variety of mediums, especially watercolor, pencil, tempera, ballpoint pen, and crayon and on a number of surfaces such as canvas, poster board, sheets of paper and discarded window blinds. Some of her works were put together in the fashion of a triptych or book. Also included in the array of art works Godie created are the black-and-white snapshots from photo booths she took of herself dressed up in different personae. She would take these photos and embellish certain parts of them, adding color to her lips or nails or painting on darker eyebrows.
Every single photo of Godie, is a sort of escape from her condition: in one she appears in a fur coat waving a handful of cash, in another she is snapped ad if on the way to the opera. But they are always beautiful in her expression, in the detail applied in a second time.
Lee Godie remained in downtown Chicago for almost a 30-year period, becoming a facet to the social milieu during that time. Some exhibitions were created for Lee Godie, in particular “Artist Lee Godie: A twenty-year retrospective” (Chicago Cultural Centre – 1994), curated by Michael Bonesteel, who wrote the “Lee Godie” article in Raw Vision magazine. From September 12, 2008 to January 3, 2009, an exhibition of over 100 pieces of Lee Godie’s work entitled “Finding Beauty: The Art of Lee Godie” was on exhibit at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Arkansas Arts Center and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Photos (© Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago):
1) Oh! Frenchie Frenchie, Photo Booth photo
2) The Gibson Girl (Girl with pink ear, profile), Paint and pen on canvas
3) Be My Valentine, Photo Booth photo