I’d be hard-pressed to think of a major American artist still at the peak of a significant career going about his business with less attention than Terry Winters. His last career-length survey exhibition was in 1992, when Lisa Phillips organized this show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. [Image: Winters, Parallel Rendering 2, 1996.]
In the almost 20 years since that presentation, Winters has gone from being a nice painter to one of the most influential American artists alive. Winters, 61, could be considered the father of the ‘systems artists,’ many of whom are in the throes of major attention from every imaginable corner of the art world: Julie Mehretu was recently the subject of a Guggenheim exhibition and both she and Franz Ackermann have recently received seven-figure commissions from a leading investment bank. Mark Bradford is the subject of a survey exhibition that is in the midst of a five-city tour. Matthew Ritchie and Alexander Ross are art world darlings. Where Winters has long been interested in the structures of natural or organic forms, the generation of painters he has influenced has extended his explorations forward into man-built digital networks or information systems (Mehretu and Ackermann), patterns of human behavior (Bradford) and backwards toward the primordial muck (Ritchie and maybe Ross).
In the last decade, Winters has been the subject of two bite-sized shows: A 2005 exhibition that opened at the Addison Gallery of American Art that traveled to MCASD and to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. That show included work from roughly the ‘end’ of the Whitney show until 2004. A 2009 ‘recent works’ exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art also examined about a decade’s worth of work.
Winters is also one of the most active print-makers around, and his prints are more widely-held by US museums than his paintings. Here’s the work he’s done with Universal Limited Art Editions and here’s work he’s done with Pace Prints. The Museum of Modern Art has a nice selection of Winters prints viewable online, as does the Metropolitan, which exhibited about 90 Winters prints from its collection in 2001. [Painting at left: Winters, Untitled, 2001. Collection of The Broad Art Foundation.]
Assigned to: The National Gallery of Art.