Ken Johnson at the NYTimes called Terry Winters’s new paintings at Matthew Marks both gorgeous and ravishing, but after seeing the show yesterday, I have to agree with David Brody’s terrific review at artcritical that Winters’s use of color, for all its vivid exuberance, is lackluster and his paint handling equally disengaged. In the 80s and 90s, Winters’s influential paintings featured a limited palette (dominant colors: gray and other seductive neutrals) and scientific imagery. The image choice has never seemed all that important to his work, because he’s primarily interested in materiality– what can he do with paint. In his last few shows, Winters has been thinking about color and trying to expand his range, but he’s not a natural colorist. Putting this post together, I realized that these super large canvases look pretty good in the jpeg format, but on the wall, there’s an all too obvious lack of focus in terms of paint handling and color mixing. In his notebook pages, which feature collages comprising color charts and transparent color overlays, Winters’s yearning to understand color is palpable. Not many artists of Winters’s caliber are willing to risk learning out loud, and for that alone, this show is worth seeing.
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