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a brief interview conducted for Leigh Square Show interview by Jaclyn Bruneau 2014 ........conversation with Kevin Godsoe
What is it about the anonymity of the mannequin form that appeals to your intentions for this series?
I have been using the mannequin in in my work for a few years now. It has always been something I have worked from having grown up in rural New Brunswick and having always been interested in figurative art. However without a lot of access to study it, it became a good substitute for my drawing. I was also interested in surrealism and artists like De Chirico who used it in works I had seen as a boy in books. I am fond of the anonymity these figures create and I like the fact that the observer can project who "they see" onto the figure.
The bodies, in their many configurations, often come off as melancholy—a feeling made stronger by the often ambient, abstract environments in which they are positioned. It makes me think about this somewhat-recent critique that the vast world of the internet and the flux of technology is homogenizing human character, making us all seem the same. This is of course only one of many possible readings of your work but what do you think about that?
The point you make is a valid one, something in this particular series I was dealing with referencing are my influences in art and in particular my interests in ancient and Paleolithic art as well as Pop and Surrealism. We have gone from drawing on cave walls to posting on web wall such as Facebook and web blogs, etc. The melancholy comes in at looking back on youth as aging is a factor within the body of the work, modern or ancient many of our emotional references remain the same. Part of the collage and fragmentary nature of how these works are put together also references decay and ruins aspects of ancient art but also the reality of our futures and our own aging.
You mention that one of the themes you deal with is memory. Is your creative process a way of revisiting your past but with perhaps a new perspective?
I think that my process is more often about visiting my unconscious and the collective unconscious and is also built from memory. I am often more interested in the insight the viewers have of my work than any of my own explanations. Frequently I have found people have pointed out interesting meaningful things they see in the images that I was not aware of in creating it. These are valid interpretations and very insightful. I am interested by the fact that the art always will have as much if not more to do with the viewer as the artist.
Which artists influence you—either for stylistic, technical or conceptual reasons?
As mentioned before one of my earliest influences in art was Surrealism as teen. I had somewhat thought I had put it behind me as I grew older but the large show of the Surrealists a few years back at the VAG brought home to me how much of what I had taken on as a teen was still there. Also Pop and the New Realism of many maritime artist in my youth also plays a part I terms of artists who I feel influenced by. Robert Rauschenberg, Francis Bacon, Christopher Pratt, Dali, Yves Tanguy, Laurie Anderson are all artists that conceptually or emotionally appeal to me, and may show up in fragmentary ways in my work.
Is there a dream project you’d someday like to complete?
I am interested in installation and performance art as I like to work with sound lights shadows and images also in collaborations with poets and dancers. I have done some of this work in the 90s but have no present plans in the works.
'life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises'
Samuel Butler, 1835-1902, novelist,