News

Flower show features late artist’s sculptures

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Carolyn Hooper, treasurer of the Simcoe and District Horticultural Society, is looking forward to Saturday's flower show at the Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe. The show is being held in conjunction with an exhibit of metal sculptures by the late Renton-area artist Alec Godden, who was fond of depicting birds in flight. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

Carolyn Hooper, treasurer of the Simcoe and District Horticultural Society, is looking forward to Saturday's flower show at the Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe. The show is being held in conjunction with an exhibit of metal sculptures by the late Renton-area artist Alec Godden, who was fond of depicting birds in flight. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

SIMCOE - 

Alec Godden’s stainless steel creations found their way into the finest gardens, galleries and art collections around the world.

Norfolk County is home to many great artists but many would agree that Godden was in a class by himself.

Godden died in January at Norfolk General Hospital following a period of ill health. He was 84 years old.

Family, friends and admirers gathered for a celebration of Godden’s life at the Lions Community Centre in Jarvis in May.

The tribute continues at the Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe with a rare display of Godden’s stainless steel sculptures titled Fusing Nature. The show opened June 9 and runs until July 29. It features a number of pieces large and small borrowed from private collections in the local area.

The exhibit’s high point occurs this Saturday when the Simcoe and District Horticultural Society and the Waterford and District Horticultural Society stage a joint flower and vegetable show at the NAC.

Deirdre Chisholm, curator and executive director of the arts centre, said that the flower show is a good fit because Godden’s durable work is often displayed in garden settings.

Chisholm said that the art world lost a giant with Godden’s passing.

“He was complicated, and he was interesting,” Chisholm said.

“That’s what makes for great art. He left a real legacy. He’s the image of Norfolk as far as I’m concerned. The flora and fauna of Norfolk – that’s what he used to make his art.”

Alastair (Alec) Godden was born in London, England, in 1932. After a stint in the British army during the Suez crisis in Egypt, Godden made his way to Canada as an industrial welder.

His artistic bent shone through in breath-taking metal work and oil-painted canvasses in a style all his own.

Exhibits of Godden’s work are rare because his pieces tended to sell the minute they cooled or dried. The ancient-looking fish at the entrance to the Harbour Museum in Port Dover is one of the few examples of public art Godden left to Norfolk County.

Despite his immense talent, Godden was a humble unassuming man. He was a raconteur with a sharp wit and a charming British accent. He could be quite animated while telling a story and he loved to laugh.

Godden was well known in the local area for his generosity. Works of art he donated to charity auctions raised thousands of dollars for their beneficiaries.

A burnished stainless steel golden eagle with a seven-foot wing-span sold for $7,000 at a charity auction on behalf of the Vittoria and District Community Foundation several years ago.

“Alec was a larger-than-life character, a great artist and a genius of a man who will be dearly missed by everyone he touched and by all that had the pleasure to know him,” the South Coast Funeral Service said in a death notice Jan. 15.

The Simcoe and Waterford horticultural show at NAC this Saturday runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.