Keeping with Godlewska's tradition of creating a body of work related to a recent oversees research excursion, each painting is influenced by time spent on the small island nation of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean approximately 550 miles east of Madagascar, as well as in Sicily and Cuba. (Her 2014 show, Self, was based in travels throughout Europe and 2011’s On Tigers and Putti in Italy, Greenland, and Iceland.)
Both natural phenomena and man-made structures in a state of flux serve as consistent inspiration throughout her career, from clouds forming and dissipating to decaying architecture of bygone eras of the Baroque and Rococo. Godlewska poetically articulates the foundation of The Ultimate Landscape as:
Globetrotting tourists consume natural beauty with the use of electronic devices; I am one of them.
What is the draw of the remote and the exotic, why the hope that we are the first to discover, uniquely positioned for an encounter? Why do we crave nature in the age of Anthropocene? Is this a subconscious attempt to catch a glimpse of what will soon be gone? We seem to look for a high-touch experience but through a high-tech lens.
My work draws from the historic paintings of the Sublime, from the work created by the traveller artists and the exoticizing visions of the tropics. I depict landscapes with small figures of present day explorers; I paint not what they see, but what potentially might be there, perhaps outside of the frame of their viewfinders, an ultimate experience that awaits just around the corner.
A Charlotte resident since 1997, Godlewska is originally from Poland. She graduated with an MFA in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Wroclaw with additional, post-graduate training as a Tempus Mobility Grantee in textile design at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious grants, including a Fulbright Fellowship; North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Awards; UNC Charlotte Faculty Research Grants to Poland, Greenland, Iceland, France, and Italy; Kosciuszko Polish-American Foundation Fellowship; and, several Arts & Science Council–Charlotte/Mecklenburg grants.
Her residencies include: pARTage, Mauritius; Upernavik Museum, Upernavik, Greenland; McColl Center for the Art+Innovation, Charlotte, NC; c.r.e.t.a. rome, Rome, Italy, and Rodrigues-Amat Foundation, Spain. Godlewska’s work has been shown nationally and internationally and is included in various corporate collections as well as the permanent collections of the Mint Museum and in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.