Of Iranian descent and born in Pakistan, Gohar grew up in Lahore, Karachi, Paris and London. She learned to knit from nuns at her boarding school in the Himalayas. In 1985 she launched her textiles, yarn and knitwear business, Ziggurat, which later became English Weather. Today English Weather produces luxury cashmere knitwear and scarves featuring digital prints of Gohar's paintings.
Gohar Goddard is first and foremost a colourist. Her combination of colours and textures bely her background as a textile designer. Like textiles, her paintings are tactile and considered.
Gohar's early influencers were Matisse, Klee and Tapies. In the 1990s, following an art study and industry tour in Cornwall, she became devoted to the work of British artists William Scott, Peter Lanyon and Roger Hilton. She resolved to teach herself to paint and explore the same aesthetic themes that occupied her in her knitwear and in her ceramics: The physicality of the medium, the tactile quality of ordinary materials, aesthetics of stillness and calm, and the the beauty of careful colour combinations.
“I am first and foremost a colourist. When I start painting, I begin by mixing colours, trying our new combinations of tints. I apply layer upon layer of these experimental pigments to the canvas, build up a texture that appeals to the touch. Only when, almost as a happy coincidence, certain combinations seem to work do I move to the next stage, staying with these colours but concentrating on the architecture of the paintings, line, shapes, and forms that give greater interest to the colours themselves. This is the drawing stage. I make marks, I try to impose some degree of order, I scratch hieroglyphics, I smudge the paint, I roll on new layers of pigment, all the time trying to create the greatest amount of visual interest with the least means. I am happy when the painting provides a pleasure that is difficult to explain. I believe that the eye understands when a painting is finished, even though the mind is uncertain."
On first looking at Gohar’s paintings you feel a tranquility and simplicity in her work. Her combination of colours and textures give away her background as a textile designer and like textiles they are tactile and considered. On looking deeper you understand the structure and design which, to me, shows an influence of the St Ives Group; it wasn’t until talking to Gohar about her work and her life she revealed her exotic background of growing up as one of four daughters of Persian parents living in Lahore, Karachi, Paris and London, (she was even taught to knit by Irish Nuns in a Himalayan convent school in Kashmir) that you begin to see how wide a field Gohar has had available to her to subconsciously reap ideas.
Viewing Gohar's work is therapeutic, a sequence of simplicity and meditation on shape and colour, it is no wonder that many of her works have been bought by private collectors and she has been commissioned to create pieces for corporate settings.