A prodigious painter, draftsman, and printmaker, Terry Winters has pushed the boundaries of modern art while he has maintained a keen sense of its history and craft. Born in Brooklyn in 1949, he received a BFA in 1971 from the Pratt Institute in New York. Although he first painted in a reductive style influenced by minimalism and process art, by the end of the 1970s Winters had given up the attempt to keep figuration from his compositions. After a period of developing his work in private, he had his first solo exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery in 1982, with exhibitions following at major European and American museums. Through the 1980s, he explored such natural processes as crystal formation, fungal growth, and cellular division, typically rendered in a lush painterly manner. Since the 1990s, he has pursued imagery related to information and technology, drawing from such sources as architectural renderings, medical photographs, and computer graphics, but always transforming them into new symbolic configurations. At times collaborating with writers, dancers, and architects, he has enlisted the “low-tech, shape-shifting capabilities” of paint, as he puts it, to engage the complex experience of a high-tech world.
With a wide-ranging and eclectic practice, Winters conflates organic abstraction and mathematical systems into complex compositions that reference computation, architecture, and genetic chains. His biomorphic paintings explore the limits of Modernist traditions through their intricately patterned surfaces. “There’s not a one-to-one relationship between the image and what it stands for in the world,” the artist has said about his works. “There are shifting meanings which have the characteristics of metaphor.”
A survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1992 brought his work to the forefront of the art world. Since then, he has enjoyed significant critical attention, exhibiting his works in retrospectives around the world. The artist’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Modern in London, among others.