Fay Godwin exhibition, Norwich

MIRANDA YATES Godwin’s images are so crisp and meticulously composed that one expects meaning to jump out like the neat line of her portrait of Leaping Lurcher. But the sharpness of her images, belies a more intuitive artistic vision.

MIRANDA YATES

“There seems to be a point of view but never a caption”, muses Simon Armitage in his introduction to Fay Godwin's major new exhibition of collected photography spanning the 1970s and 1990s. As usual, he's got it in a nutshell.

Godwin's images are so crisp and meticulously composed that one expects meaning to jump out like the neat line of her portrait of Leaping Lurcher. But the sharpness of her images, belies a more intuitive artistic vision.

Take her photograph of Ramsgate Beach, 1972. The sand is desolate save for a tiny beach hut painted with the words Lost Children Here. How many millions of our lost childhoods are locked away on a beach somewhere? Does the scenery of our past somehow contain us? Or is this a lonely picture about the way we dump our memories on wild indifferent places that will wash us away?

Newer, colour work speaks with the same lyrical ambiguity. Flora and fauna are imprisoned behind glass and yearning towards the light.

Not everything in black and white makes common-sense and Fay Godwin's uncommon visual language babbles, whispers and whistles through her landscapes but will never settle for making a simple point.

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