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Ben Godward’s exploded view

“Ben Godward: Play,” Norte Maar, Bushwick, installation view, 2013

Contributed by Sharon Butler / Crafted from aluminum, neon-colored foam, paint, and plastic materials such as bubble wrap, plastic cups, and other discarded detritus, Ben Godward’s work has always careened impulsively toward excess and chaos. More restrained than previous work, Voitenko vs. Berkeley (contemplation of the imploded past perfect (intremes) (2013) tempers Godward’s signature exuberance with the geometric unity of a Donald Judd cube construction.

Evoking Lynda Benglis‘s pigmented polyurethane foam pieces from the late 1960s and 70s and Carolanna Parlato’s 2010 poured paintings, Godward drips, pours and splashes skeins of brightly colored foam and paint, embedding objects in the ooze, like dinosaurs trapped in a rainbow-colored tar pit. Made specifically for the small, sun-filled front room at Norte Maar, the five-foot cube feels hemmed in; we can’t keep a polite distance, we have to get close and take a look at what’s inside this thing.

The action is sandwiched between two big sheets of safety glass like a microscope slide, which, combined with the square bounding frame, cleverly creates the impression that Voitenko vs. Berkeley (a prize fight? a court case? I don’t know) is the big, thick, three-dimensional excavation of a vigorous abstract painting.

Here are some detail shots:

In the side rooms, Godward extends his muscular brand of woozy lyricisim in several smaller pieces, including digital prints of objects caught in motion on a flatbed scanner (published by Fortress to Solitude), nail polish paintings on losing lottery tickets and a can of Mountain Dew.

Ben Godward, Energy Auras, 2013
Ben Godward’s shoes
Ben Godward: Kinetic

Ben Godward: Play,” Norte Maar, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Mar 1-Mar 24, 2013.

About the author: Sharon Butler is a painter and the publisher of Two Coats of Paint.

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