Graham Goddard

Graham Goddard
Graham Goddard at the California African American Museum opening "An Idea Called Tomorrow (2009)"
Born (1982-04-12) 12 April 1982 (age 32)
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Nationality Trinidadian American
Field Conceptual art, installation art, painting
Training University of Southern California
Works Paradigm

Graham Goddard (born April 12, 1982) is a Trinidadian American conceptual artist known for making visual statements about the environment, spirituality and commodification through painting, sculpture and site-specific land art installations. Goddard's work has been exhibited at the Skirball Museum, the California African American Museum and numerous art galleries in the United States and abroad.[1]

Life and career

Early life

Graham Goddard was born in Bev Doolittle.

Graham Goddard studied Fine Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) (Class of 2004, BFA). At USC Goddard explored inverted imagery and developed the Rotating Canvas. Goddard's Rotating Canvas allows the viewer to turn a painting 360 degrees, exposing inverted images within his work. He first introduced the concept in the exhibition "Flip" at the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery in 2004.[6]

Early Work

In 2005 Goddard investigated the ideas of family legacy and artist exploitation through inverted imagery and abstract expressionist paintings. During this period Goddard exhibited at numerous galleries and venues including Feinstein Art Gallery, JAMCAAR and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Consulate of New York.[7] In 2007 Goddard teamed up with legendary fashion designer Karl Kani to develop a high-end clothing line which fused art and fashion.[8]

In 2008, Goddard's miniature painting series was exhibited at Sargent's Fine Art in Maui, Hawaii. Goddard also started exploring spirituality in his paintings and included references to the Bible in watercolor paintings such as "Almost Time," which explored his interest in faith and included his feelings of displacement as a Trinidadian in the United States. Goddard's collectors during this period included singer and actress Vanessa Williams, actress Regina King, actress Gabrielle Union, boxing champion Laila Ali and actress Ana Ortiz.[9]

Museum Exhibitions

"Inside My Head"- California African American Museum

In May 2009 Graham Goddard was invited to exhibit in the California African American Museum's exhibition, "Inside My Head: Intuitive Artists of African Descent," curated by Mar Hollingsworth.[10] The exhibition showcased works by 32 contemporary artists of African descent who have developed a mature style in an intuitive manner.[11] The exhibition explored pure artistic creativity and validated the connection to ethnic-specific traditions and ways of doing.[12] Goddard exhibited the inverted watercolor and acrylic paintings "Legacy" and "God's Speed." The exhibit also featured Goddard's works "In the Smallest Places," "On the Precipice of Faith," and "Word Travels." The works incorporated Goddard's West Indian heritage and addressed America's struggle with spirituality.[13] Notable artists also in the exhibition included Noah Purifoy, Maime Hansberry, Toni Scott, Malik Seneferu, Michael Massenburg and Timothy Washington.[14]

"An Idea Called Tomorrow"- The Skirball Museum & California African American Museum

"An Idea Called Tomorrow" (November 19, 2009 - May 8, 2010) was a historical collaborative partnership between the California African American Museum (CAAM) and the Skirball Museum.[15] Co-conceived by CAAM and the Skirball, the exhibition marked the first time in history that the institutions collaborated.[16] With the goal of inspiring visitors to reflect upon the active role we must all play in bringing about a more just, equitable, and peaceful future, "An Idea Called Tomorrow" showcased new works by fifteen contemporary artists that imagine what a civil future looks like.[17] The participating artists’ ethnicities and backgrounds were as diverse as their presentations, which addressed a broad range of social justice issues of both regional and global relevance, such as environmental sustainability, shelter for all, human equity, equal access and respect, healthy living, reconciliation and forgiveness, and cooperation and peace.[18]

Graham Goddard was invited to exhibit his 50 foot site-specific instillation "Paradigm" in front of the museum.[19] Paradigm is a minimalist site-specific installation designed to expose the pollution of an environment. The installation of "Paradigm" marked the first time in history that the museum officially exhibited an artists work in front of the institution. Artist Charles Dickson was also invited to install his sculpture, "Wishing on a Star," on the East side of the museum as part of the exhibition. Other notable artists that participated in the exhibition included Joyce Dallal, John Outerbridge, Dominique Moody, John Halaka, Karen Seneferu, Jane Castillo and Kim Abeles.[20]

At the Skirball Museum's "An Idea Called Tomorrow II," (November 19, 2009 - March 7, 2010) Graham Goddard exhibited the conceptual plans and a maquette of "Paradigm."[21] Graham Goddard is the first Trinidadian in history to exhibit at the Skirball Museum. The exhibition received over 100,000 visitors while it was open. Inspired by land artists such as Robert Smithson, Andy Goldsworthy and Christo and Jeanne Claude, Graham Goddard displayed blueprints designed to instruct the viewer how to build "Paradigm" for themselves, suggesting that anyone could create what Goddard created and contribute to constructive ecological action to renew the environment.

"Paradigm"- Site-specific installation

"Paradigm" is part of a series of land artworks by Graham Goddard designed to investigate their surrounding environments as objects consisting of a process of ongoing relationships between man and nature while addressing our ecological responsibility towards a healthy environment tomorrow.[22] Graham Goddard places “Paradigm” in multiple locations that are at risk and affected by pollution, such as mountains, deserts and watersheds. For an "Idea Called Tomorrow" at the Skirball Museum and the California African American Museum, Goddard proposed the installation of “Paradigm” in the Ballona Creek, a toxic watershed in Culver City, California.[23] “Paradigm” aspires to ensure that sites such as Ballona Creek are no longer seen as a “thing-in-themselves,” but instead as physical regions consisting of layered evidence of multiple issues that need attention and support so that they could become cleaner and healthier environments. "Paradigm," consists of a series of objects- each dedicated to a pollutent of the environment that it is placed in. In Ballona Creek, Paradigm's eight objects were dedicated to toxins found in the creeks water, such as Cyanide, Coliform Bacteria, Copper, Zinc, etc., according to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Santa Monica Bay Watershed Management Area summary in 2009. The toxins are currently discharged into the Pacific Ocean affecting the wildlife and quality of the water, resulting in an acute health risk for humans swimming, surfing and eating the fish. The grouping of Paradigm would investigate the space in which the water is held and the relationship of its contents to the surrounding community. "Paradigm" has a universal aesthetic while existing as functional art by trapping trash that flows down the Ballona Creek.

“Paradigm” is an example of our capacity to impact and control nature’s elements while exposing the environment’s desperate need for our constructive intervention. Graham Goddard’s work also encourages new ways of seeing a familiar landscape and explores our preconceived notions of what a “Creek” is or should be. The work’s abstract aesthetic challenges the theoretical validity of the Picturesque, introduced by William Gilpin in 1782, by exploring the dialectic between the physical landscape and its temporal context. Paradigm’s presence would also amplify the Ballona creek’s characteristics, such as algae and objects of pollution found on the site, which have transformed Ballona Creek into a landscape that is layered with the evidence of natural growth, weathering and the perverse signs of destructive human behavior.

Gallery Exhibitions

In December 2009 Graham Goddard was invited to exhibit at Horizon's Fine Art in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with Bob Mackie and Jonathon Guy-Gladding.[24] Goddard's large acrylic paintings investigated the ephemeral nature of Trinidad’s ever-changing forest by eliminating and substituting it with black backgrounds, fading backdrops and inverted images.[25] Goddard’s work also explored the detritus of transition and change: the debris and scattered sediment of one’s journey, filled with choices that result in personal introspection and growth. Masked with traditional Trinidadian imagery, such as native birds, fruit and flora, Graham Goddard’s paintings were occasionally deceptive and subtly addressed issues of displacement and capitalism while encouraging the viewer to be optimistic about life’s challenges.[26] Legendary carnival designer Brian MacFarlene and Trinidadian artist Carlisle Harris were in attendance.

In 2009 Goddard exhibited at the Avenue 50 Gallery's "365 and Counting" Exhibition in Los Angeles.[27] Goddard featured the inverted painting "Hope in a World of Peril." Notable artists in the exhibition included Chukes, CCH Pounder and Yrneh Brown.[28] "Hope In a World of Peril" explored text from the Book of Revelation in the Bible and addressed the perilous political climate that the United States was in as President Barack Obama completed his historical first year in office as President of the United States.[29] Graham Goddard's solo exhibition at LA Artcore on March 2, 2011 - March 27, 2011, featured works that referenced America's changing identity in the 20th century.

In May 2011 Goddard was chosen by the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art's (LACMA) Director of Contemporary Art, Franklin Sirmans, to show with 10 other emerging artists at the Rema Hort Mann Foundation's exhibition, "The Los Angeles Initiative," at Honor Fraser Gallery in Culver City, CA. "America at Play," a rotating painting featured in the exhibition, explores the major issues that the United States faced in the first decade of the 21st century. Highlighting the discrimination, exploitation and controversial topics that affect Americans, the painting uses a playground of children as a metaphor for the United States’ tumultuous political climate. “America at Play” addresses the issues of Same Sex Marriage, immigration, Native American exploitation, Polygamy, the World Trade Center bombing and Hurricane Katrina. At 9 feet long and 6 feet tall, “America at Play” exists as a powerful protagonist in the fight for full and equal rights of all Americans.

Graham Goddard's "Time is of the Essence" series was featured in the Whole 9 Gallery's exhibition "ZERO HOUR" in Culver City, CA in July 2012. The exhibition also included the works of Ashleigh Sumner, Joan Scheibel and Fred Felmesser.

Philanthropy and Community Involvement

Graham Goddard has been a guest speaker at colleges and high schools including Loyola Marymount University, the University of Southern California and Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York.

In 2008 Graham Goddard launched the "Surrender a Moment to God" project which encourages at-risk inner city youth to contribute to a large painting by drawing, painting, or writing statements explaining what surrendering to God means to them. Over 200 at-risk youth in Southern California have contributed to the project. Goddard believes that when young people are faced with tough circumstances, the simplest and most powerful thing they can do is get closer to God.


External links

  • - official website
  • The California African American Museum- An Idea Called Tomorrow
  • An Idea Called Tomorrow
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