Magazine article Artforum International

Trevor Winkfield: Tibor De Nagy Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Trevor Winkfield: Tibor De Nagy Gallery

Article excerpt

If there's something impersonal about the blocky but borderline-hallucinatory realm of a Trevor Winkfield painting, this quality can also be seen as a kind of childlike insouciance, finally piercing in its intimacy. Austere and playful, wicked and sacred, antic and serene in equal measure, Winkfield's meticulously delineated culinary, musical, mythic, and domestic motifs come together into odd and gracious apparitions on the canvas.

Winkfield, a master of proportion, hints at motion as would the maker of an ancient hieroglyphic frieze: via a slight, studied torquing of the work's overall symmetries. The "female" sign dominating The Garden, 2003, for instance, is situated to the left of center, but our eye is gently provoked into repositioning it--the three red dots at its neck emphasize a slightly queasy feeling of motion. This abstract creature's head, outlined by a leaf or acorn motif that also makes up its body, contains what could be a bottle, a black sky and deco flower, a gyroscope or sphere, a crisscrossed pole or miter, a hillscape, a tiny yellow wedge atop a curving shaft, and a water droplet. Though Winkfield's vision is self-consciously pixilated, to judge from these works' painterly control any emotion has obviously been recalled in steely calm. It's a sort of conceptual portrait of any of us as we simply continue to live and seek a balance in a universe of contingencies.

Winkfield's motifs evoke not only our mythic history (as in the case of the Orphic lyre and the guitar on the right in Concert, 2003, or the tilting steeple in the background on the left) but also still more elemental archetypes. …

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