Ted Godwin, Regina Five artist, dies at 79

Ted Godwin, one of Canada's most influential artists and a member of the Regina Five avant garde movement, has died.

Ted Godwin, one of Canada's most influential artists and member of the Regina Five avant garde movement, has died. He was 79.

Godwin died in Calgary late Thursday night, after suffering a heart attack two months ago.  

Canadian artist, Ted Godwin, and member of the group the Regina Five, has died at age 79. (www.tedgodwin.com)

Born in Calgary, he moved to Regina in 1958, after attending what is now the Alberta College of Art and Design.

He started teaching at the University of Regina in 1964 and moved back to Calgary 21 years later.

In the late 1950s and 1960s a group of artists, later known as the Regina Five, received national attention for challenging the status quo.

Godwin was the youngest member of the group, coming to national attention at the age of 28.

The group was acknowledged with an exhibition at National Gallery of Canada in 1961, which put Canada on the map as part of the avant garde movement that was then only based in New York.

Jeffrey Spalding, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Calgary and a personal friend of Godwin, said Godwin will be remembered for his work with the Regina Five in the '60s. Spalding said the group had quite an influence on abstract painting.

"Ted, particularly with his Tartan series bridged that gap from expressionistic painting to a more calmer, almost geometric, style of painting." The tartan-like patterns were created with translucent washes of colour laid over each other.

A 2009 exhibit of Godwin's work at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina displayed his paintings from that period, including works on paper and one neon piece.

Curator Ann Davis said the works created from 1957-67 were "all executed with new found freedom and emotional power, what he called 'the big attack.'"

Godwin later painted exuberant landscapes, working from Canadian scenes from the east arm of Great Slave Lake to Nahanni, to Kluane, and Whales Island on the northwest coast.

In 2005 Godwin was named Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to art.