Artist Spotlight: DeWitt Godfrey

Weathering steel sculpture

Artist Spotlight: DeWitt Godfrey

Natural geometries and systems, such as plant spores, seashells, and honeycombs, inspire the exquisite works of large-scale sculptor DeWitt Godfrey. With his appreciation for the natural, it is no wonder that Godfrey uses weathering steel to construct his one-of-a-kind sculptures.

Godfrey began using cor-ten steel in graduate school. He used offcuts from a steel processor to create some of his first slightly-flexible and dynamic structures. Godfrey noted that the properties of cor-ten are an essential part of his work. 

“Cor-ten is great,” Godfrey said. “I love the color. I love the properties. But, the principal reason that it works so well for me is that it is much harder than mild steel and has a better shape memory. Even when you put it under a fair amount of stress, it retains its shape.” 

Godfrey is a valued customer of Central Steel Service, and we are extremely proud of the work that he does around the world. “We’ve been working together for 15 years,” Godfrey said. “Our partnership has really prospered over the years and been really critical to my success.”

Godfrey is currently working on a piece called Speirein for Time, Space, Existence, a satellite exhibition to the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale. Speirein will be a spherical surface with a diameter of about 430cm and composed of several conical shaped sections. 

“The whole thing is designed in the computer, which gives us all the intersection points and some information about the part number and which part connects to which part where,” Godfrey explained. “Those files are sent to a laser company, and the steel is shipped from Central Steel Service. We receive the steel as flat cut-out shapes and roll them to the correct shape and assemble the structure.” 

Corten sculpture

Corten steel sculpture

As you can see from the photos of his sculptures, his unique process of packing and stacking of conic and cylindrical steel forms gives rise to extraordinary complexity. 

Godfrey completed his undergraduate work at Yale University, was a member of the inaugural group of CORE Fellows at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and received his MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since then, Godfrey has received numerous grants and fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Japan Foundation Artist’s Fellowship, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Artist Fellowship. 

Visit Godfrey’s website to learn more about his sculptures and keep an eye on our Instagram feed for more photos of his finished installations!