Terry Winters graduated from Pratt Institute in 1971 and spent a decade painting in his Manhattan studio before his first solo exhibition at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York. Within months of that exhibition, Winters, like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg before him, ventured to Long Island, to Universal Limited Art Editions, and began a serious exploration of printmaking.
Art historian Richard Axsom comments on this crucial period in Winters’ career in his essay*, “The Philosophers’ Stone: The Prints of Terry Winters”:
His style had evolved from a painterly minimalism, influenced by Brice Marden and Robert Ryman, to an organic abstraction delineated with references to early biological life. His first prints would reflect this world of forms. But why the decision to make prints at this point and then on a continuous basis over the next sixteen years? First, he felt ready to work in a medium that had attracted him for some time. Second, Bill Goldston’s invitation to make prints at ULAE helped prompt the move, which was further aided by the immediate rapport between the two men. Most importantly, however, was the role of drawing in Winter’s art.
Winters visited ULAE once a week for the next two years and concluded this formulative period with the Morula prints that are included in this exhibition. The Morula prints were produced by Winters transferring drawings made on thin papers to stones or plates with solvents or by photo-transfer methods. The prints were done on thick, handmade, Toyoshi paper from Japan. A morula is an embryo at an early stage of embryonic development.
After beginning with Bill Goldston, Winters has worked with other printmakers over the years, notably Aldo Crommelynck in Paris who was Picasso’s last master printer. Many of the ideas Winters first developed at ULAE continued: the emphasis on exploring images of basic life forms, the attention to special papers and various methods for producing the works on paper, and the use of a series of prints to develop an idea.
This collection of artworks by Terry Winters represents one of the cornerstones of the collection of the John and Maxine Belger Family Foundation. In addition to the Winters pieces the Foundation holds extensive works by Jasper Johns, Terry Allen, Renee Stout, William Christenberry, William Wiley, and Robert Stackhouse. In 2007 artworks from the collection could be seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Burroughs-Chapin Museum in South Carolina, at galleries of Texas Tech University, the University of Virginia, and Syracuse University, and other venues.
* Mr. Axsom’s essay appears in Terry Winters Prints 1982-1998: A Catalogue Raisonne by Nancy Sojka and Nancy Barr; 1999; published by the Detroit Institute of Arts.