Terry Winters born 1949

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

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