Terry Winters Morula III 1983–4

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Artwork details

Artist
Terry Winters born 1949
Title
Morula III
Date 1983–4
Medium Lithograph on paper
Dimensions Image: 1089 x 825 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1984
Reference
P77063
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Terry Winters born 1949

P77063 Morula III 1983-4

Lithograph 1089 x 825 (42 7/8 x 32 1/2) on Toyoshi handmade paper 1089 x 825 (42 7/8 x 32 1/2); printed by Thomas Cox and Keith Brintzenhofe at Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, Long Island and published by Universal Limited Art Editions in an edition of 36
Inscribed ‘T W 1983-84' t.r. and ‘22/36' t.l.; printer's and publisher's stamp t.l.
Purchased from Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, Long Island (Grant-in-Aid) 1984
Lit: S.C., ‘New Editions', Artnews, vol. 83, March 1984, p.85; ‘Prints & Photographs Published', Print Collector's Newsletter, vol.15, March - April 1984, p.27

The three lithographs, P77061, P77062 and P77063, depict mulberry-like forms suspended in space and are typical of Winters's imagery of this period in their metaphoric implications and in their execution. The title of the works is both a Latin word and in current English usage. In Latin, as a noun, morula means a brief delay and, as an adjective, it means black or dark coloured. In English, morula, as defined by Webster's, is a globular mass of blastomeres formed by the cleavage of the egg of many animals in its early development. It is also a cluster of developing male germ cells, especially in certain annelids in which the final development of spermatazoa occurs outside the testis. According to the Oxford English Dictionary morula also means a mulberry formed fungus excrescence or an ovum when it has become completely segmented. Thus, the titles of the works imply notions of biological and botanical functions, particularly those associated with reproduction.

In an interview with the compiler held in New York in January 1985, the artist stated that ‘the sexuality of the image is important. The objects are a vehicle for other ideas'. He also said that he chose a Latin word for the title not only because it described the mulberry forms, which are overtly depicted in P77061, but because he felt it ‘would be more evocative than a factual description'. As in much of Winters's work, the forms were taken from his study of illustrated botanical and scientific books.

P77061 is printed in two colours with four printings and P77062 and P77063 are each printed in three colours with eight printings. Clifford Ackley has described the method of printing ‘Morula I':

The dominant parts of the image, the two black spheres, were produced by transferring a drawing to the printing surface with solvent, as in Rauschenberg's solvent transfer of magazine clippings in his drawings or in prints such as Gamble (1968). The transfer produces a cloudy surface scum on the stone or plate that would normally be cleaned up by the printers, but Winters liked the way it enriched the palette of textures, and it was left. The mark defining the edge of the drawing sheet was also left as an open acknowledgement of the procedures employed. The rather ghostly, blurred grey pine-cone motifs in the central zone were produced by printing the residue of ink left on the stone after most of the ink had been removed by a first printing onto waste paper. The brown zone at the bottom of the image was drawn by the artist on a sheet of transparent grained mylar, which was used as a positive to light-transfer the drawing to a light-sensitized printing plate.


The inks have been printed so that the lithographs closely resemble the texture of chalk drawings because the artist was interested in achieving the illusion of a drawn image, including smudge marks. The colours are used to accentuate the blackness of the blacks and to indicate space. In making the plates Winters employed pencils and crayons and their use is evident in the finished works. The pencil marks are those which depict sketch-like notations which appear in addition to the predominant motifs. In whatever medium Winters works he intentionally retains earlier ideas and workings in order to relate the history of the making of the image, which consequently embodies the concept of time. In this sense each work has a narrative element.

Prior to making the ‘Morula' series, the artist had worked on small plates but found that he always drew configurations which appeared to be too large. Therefore he decided to use the largest plates available to him and to print right to the edge. In printing the works both a lithographic and an offset press were employed by Thomas Cox and Keith Brintzenhofe respectively.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.472-3

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