On Thursday in Calgary Ted Godwin died at age 79 two months after suffering a heart attack.

Along with fellow artists (left to right in the c. 1962 photo) Ronald Bloore (1925-2009), Art McKay (1926-2000), Douglas Morton (1926-2004) and Kenneth Lochhead (1926-2006), Godwin (far right) was part of an avant garde abstract expressionist movement that arose in Regina in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The intellectual and aesthetic heart of abstract expressionism was in New York City where artists like Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning  rose to prominence in the post WWII era. But through mass media, travel and other marvels of the modern age, along with a series workshops that were held at Emma Lake from the mid-1950s through mid-1960s, abstract expressionism took root in Regina and flourished.

The Regina Five, along with colleagues like architect Clifford Wiens and painter Roy Kiyooka, achieved national and international recognition for their innovative approach to art-making. Not only did they stand as great artists in their own right, they also were instrumental in the establishment the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the creation of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Regina.

Recently, the University of Saskatchewan announced that it was suspending operations at the Emma Lake campus as a cost-cutting measure. As well, one of Wiens’ award winning buildings Our Lady of the Lake RC Chapel near Saskatchewan Beach is near collapse. So not only are the people who helped shaped Saskatchewan culture in the post WWII period disappearing, so too are some of the physical manifestations of their legacy.

Here’s a link to CBC’s obituary on Godwin.