Terry Winters

By Kuspit, Donald | Artforum International, November 1995 | Go to article overview

Terry Winters


Kuspit, Donald, Artforum International


If drawing is understood as an unconsciously directed pattern of lines that eventually resolves into an evocative, peculiarly organic image, then Terry Winters is one of the masters of the medium. His drawings convey a sense of emotional conviction, even if the emotion cannot be named, and even if the nature of the organic object represented cannot be specified; this ineffability only adds to the work's mystery.

The overgrown terrain of works such as the ecstatically bright Potential Surface of Density, 1995, suggests a rapidly mutating mass of enigmatic feeling. For Winters, it is as if density were, in and of itself, expressive ripeness. His trick - it is a Surrealist one - is to transform what seems like a meticulous drawing of a detail of nature into the symptomatic expression of emotional terra incognita. Winters often unwinds his line only to weave it into a psychic web, as in Tenons Capsule 3, 1994. The very dense central element can be read as a germ cell, and the web that emerges from it as an expression of that cell's latent energy. As with Side-imaging, 1995, there is a sense of near explosive drama. Winters seems to be trying to balance "freely" expressive, at times turbulent line, with a self-contained, even self-sufficient "core," full of mysterious, influential Being. Works such as Modeling Shadows, 1995, which lack a conspicuous center integrate open and closed space with greater subtlety. Many of the earlier, less frenetic drawings, such as Visan 1 and Visan 8 (both 1992), seem to map a subliminally familiar landscape. In general, Winters, early drawings are more closely bound to the model of an object, whereas the later works reflect a more intricate, expansive expressivity. …

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