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Terry Winters Signal to Noise at IMMA

The first large-scale exhibition in Ireland by the renowned American artist Terry Winters opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Friday 12 June 2009. Terry Winters Signal to Noise examines the painter’s evolving relationship with abstract imagery, the central driving force of his work, as it has developed over the past ten years. The 40 paintings and drawings explore the cerebral spaces of information technology and issues of cognition and narration as they relate to abstract painting. Winters’ forcefully made works invoke modular forms and structures in an instinctive, symbolic language that sets out to encapsulate entire worlds. The relationship between the artist’s single large-scale works and his use of drawing and painting in serial presentations is also explored.

Terry Winters’ 30-year-long engagement with abstraction has encompassed a wide range of works; including early monochrome paintings incorporating unconventional materials, works based on botanical and biological processes and complex linear structures combined with rich colour fields. The exhibition takes up this narrative through some of his major series, beginning in 1997-98 with Graphic Primitives, dense compositions resembling circuit boards, maps and radar screens. Derived from the processes used to generate them, they combine an emphasis on the importance of the idea in the creative process with pure visual pleasure. Science also informs Set Diagram, 2000-02, 13 works drawn from a series of 100 paintings, each measuring one metre by one yard, containing a huge variety of forms inspired by the laws of optics and incorporating barcodes, meshes, wheels and charts. These, in turn, led on to paintings such as Composition and Luminance, both 2002, with their suggestions of mandalas, Ferris wheels and spinning cogs.

In the work, Display Linkage, 2005, the linear structure has become less important and, as in several of Winters’ earlier works, floating forms begin to appear, enveloping the viewer in a world of light and form. Signal to Noise, the work which gives the exhibition its title, is the culmination of a series of paintings from 2006 and presents a cloud-like image made up of various superimposed forms, which take on a mobile, ghostly form. The work In Blue, 2008, displays a spectral form floating above a grid, juxtaposing order and chaos, the rational and the irrational. In a recent interview Winters describes his intention in these works: “What I am trying to do is engineer pictures to the point where those figural components are there but not quite there. A tension develops between them becoming legible and illegible, or drifting off from one thing to the next.”

Writing in the catalogue of the exhibition, Enrique Juncosa, Director of IMMA and curator of the exhibition, describes how Winters, while participating in the aesthetic debates of his time, is also “heir to a tradition that includes some of the greatest names in abstraction – Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly – all of whom had a profound impact on 20th-century painting….Winters is without doubt, one of the leading painters maintaining the currency of abstraction after Minimalism. This exhibition at IMMA follows the exhibitions of Sean Scully in 1996 and Juan Uslé in 2003, both of whom are also part of this debate.”

Terry Winters was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949. He received his BFA from Pratt University, New York, in 1971. Major international solo exhibitions include Tate Gallery, London, 1986; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1991; IVAM, Valencia, 1998; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1999; Kunsthalle, Basel, 2000; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2001; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2003, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, 2004. Winters is currently based in New York City and Columbia County, New York.

On Thursday 11 June at 5.00pm writer and critic David Levi Strauss will discuss the relationship between image and abstraction in Terry Winters’ work, and the constitutive differences between technical images created by mechanical means and manual images. Admission is free, but booking is essential. Please book online on The lecture will take place in the Chapel at IMMA.

A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes essays by Enrique Juncosa and American writers Francine Prose, Peter Lamborn Wilson and David Levi Strauss. The texts explore a range of subjects, from Hermeticism and Abstraction to the use of technical images in contemporary painting.

A limited edition print by Terry Winters, made especially for IMMA, is available.

The exhibition is sponsored by H&K International, Suppliers of Restaurant Equipment Systems Worldwide. Commenting on the group’s involvement, Chairman Brian Ranalow said:  “H&K International is pleased to sponsor this exhibition of works by leading American artist Terry Winters. The sponsorship is part of the H&K corporate social responsibility programme – with our international headquarters in Ireland and significant manufacturing and warehouse in the USA, we are pleased to be associated with an exhibition by an iconic American artist. In the past H&K has been involved with IMMA in sponsoring exhibitions of artists such as Tony O’Malley and Howard Hodgkin, and are pleased once again to be associated with artists of international renown.”

Signal to Noise is presented in association with The Irish Times and JCDecaux.

The exhibition continues until 27 September 2009.

Admission is free.

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.30pm
except Wednesday 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays 12noon – 5.30pm
Culture Night: Friday 25 September open until 11.00pm
Mondays Closed

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900, Email: [email protected] 

11 May 2009