Judith Godwin has been an Abstract Expressionist since the heyday of the movement, never winning the attention of her more famous colleagues like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, but producing exciting canvases that show the strong influence of architecture and dance. Fierce, strong and expressive, her abstractions combine rich color and vigorous movement to create intriguing moods. Though she has not left her roots, she has also added other dimensions to her works, bringing into them an awareness of the turmoil and destructiveness in much of contemporary life. This darkness and immediacy only adds to their potency.
The geometric “Black Cloud” shares shapes and colors with works by Kline, but her juxtaposition of large black shapes conveys a far more ominous mood than his, their weight heavy and full or foreboding. Lighter and more fluid, “Blue No II” flies across the canvas, with many blues of sky and water, several strokes creating a phantom sailboat and perhaps a gull, wings outstretched, in flight. “Capricorn” swirls like a whirlpool, gray and orange and green shapes colliding, while streaks of black and white cut through them like knives. “Desert Kahn” is rosier than many of her works, as she uses warm desert colors like pinks and oranges, but she never goes soft, the lines as piercing as they are in all her paintings, alive, sharp and insistent. That describes perfectly what she creates and why she deserves our full attention.
Through Dec. 30, Spanierman Modern, 53 E. 58th St., 212-832-1400.