SIOUX CITY | Earlier this year, like a lion, March roared into Siouxland, bringing with it more than 4 inches of snow and frigid temperatures. As evening drew nigh, the wintry landscape turned still and silent in the wake of the storm.
It was just the kind of scene that would have stirred James F. Goff from the comforts of home to travel the backroads of Woodbury County with his wife, Florence, by his side. She said he didn’t like shoveling the snow, but he sure liked looking at it.
The late artist, known by his signature as J.F. Goff, found beauty in rural landscapes, dotted by leafless trees and decrepit old barns that looked like they might just cave in at any moment. Using watercolor paints, he captured the scenes on paper with such dimension and detail – down to a single shingle and the finest of twigs.
From March through June, the Sioux City Art Center celebrated the work of J.F. Goff, displaying 35 of his watercolor paintings. More than 20 local collectors contributed to the exhibition titled “Still and Silent Places.”
With the exception of one lender from Yankton, S.D., and one from Sioux Falls, S.D., all of the paintings came from homes no more than five miles away from the Sioux City Art Center.
For about 20 years, J.F. Goff captured images of abandoned buildings and desolate landscapes. He died in 2007 at the age of 87.
Since then, his son Jim Goff has catalogued more than 650 paintings, finding some of them to be as far away as Yugoslavia and Japan.
J.F. Goff started painting in the early 1960s and stopped around 1990.
As an art teacher at East High School for nearly three decades, Goff knew how to handle most mediums, but watercolors were his favorite.
Best known for his landscapes, Goff based most of his art on the environment in and around Sioux City, developing a style that represented the sense of quiet and solitude that is still found in rural Siouxland.