Artist biography

American painter. He studied at the Pratt Institute, New York, where he was awarded his BFA in 1971. Often grouped with postmodern abstractionists, he retained a strong modernist sensibility. Although his first works were tonally restricted monochromes, Winters was always interested in the context surrounding the nature of painting: he conducted research into the origin of pigments and made botanical studies. His first mature works were those that addressed botanical subjects. An early example is Fungus (1982; London, Saatchi Gal.), in which the plants are painted as if they were elements of a loose chart or index. Rather than being a topographical study, the forms are rendered in a simple, almost crude manner, reminiscent of the late paintings of Philip Guston. Combining a hierarchy of forms with a concern for mark-making, Winters created a fusion of painterly tradition with a postmodern practice of repetition and figuration.

In later paintings Winters drew on a range of sources such as architectural renderings, medical photographs and computer graphics, and to fold and layer the subject-matter in such a complex manner that the picture conveyed an abstract imaginary space. In pictures such as Parallel Rendering 2 (1996; London, Tate), Winters developed a painterly language of dense webs and folds that use hidden systems to form a suggested core or interior space.

Terry Winters: Eight Paintings (exh. cat., essay J. Lewison, London, Tate, 1986)
Terry Winters (exh. cat., essays L. Phillips and K. Kertess, Los Angeles, CA, Mus. Contemp. A.; New York, Whitney, 1991)
M. Semff, intro.: Terry Winters: Foundations and Systems, Fifty New Drawings by Terry Winters (Munich, 1995)
Terry Winters: Computation of Chains (exh. cat., interview with A. Fuss, New York, Matthew Marks Gal., 1997)

10 December 2000

Article provided by Grove Art Online