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10 pieces by Winslow Myers
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8 PM
Construction with Freight
Marine II
Passages I
Passages I X
Passages II
Passages VIII
Riverscape with Freight
The Floodlight
Trestle with Coupler
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Winslow Myers Paintings
Born and raised Down Maine, Winslow Myers reflects his upbringing. He is reserved and self-effacing, but he has a great deal of inner strength. He just received an award for 30 years of teaching at the Bancroft School, where he is chair of the visual arts department. Coincidentally, his current exhibition of 19 paintings at the ARTSWorcester Gallery at Quinsigamond Community College is a retrospective of the same 30 years of his personal artistry. And much like the artist, the paintings are quiet, modest and unpretentious. Many of these paintings fall into certain categories with themes that reoccur over the years. One of his earliest works in the show, the 1973 "Marine 3," is a close-up study in furled sails, with the treatment of the fabric carried out in much the same manner as earlier artists handled classic experiments in clothing drapery. Four other canvases continue to explore this motif, each with different results, colorations and attitude: "July Squall" from 2000 is painted in monochromatic greens with foaming chop on the waters, showing the sails wrapped up for safety. Completed last year, "Arrival" depicts a brighter day with sails tied because of the immanent landing. The majority of the canvases on exhibit are nearly five- feet square. They are, for the most part, painted in thin layers, which allow the texture of the linen to lend pebbly appearance to the works. As with many artists, Myers spends a lot of time in his studio, and derives inspiration from this experience. The early "Interior with Drive-in Screen" is a look through his green window frame toward a view of a large pale blue rectangle. This spare composition is intensified by tiny green diamond-patterned wallpaper that frames the window frame, while the top of a brown radiator skirts across the bottom of the canvas. The character of his spaces is always changing depending on the time of day or season of the year. "Garret Room" is so darkly painted that we almost miss the hanging smock. But his latest studio painting, "The Floodlight," is bright and cheerful, even though it is set in winter, as the snow-covered trees outside attest. The painting, with a large, old lamp reflector to one side, shows a glass bowl with large flowers centered in the window with an easel alongside holding a painting of a still life, unfinished. Myers is also interested in trains, or at least in parts of trains. Several paintings in the show feature railroad imagery, such as the 1981 "Freights in Afternoon Sunlight," where we see the tops of boxcars as they pass by a jumble of houses in the distance. These brightly colored, blocky buildings are reminiscent of Edward Hopper's (1882-1967) flat-surfaced renditions of ordinary American architecture. By placing the vantage point from above in his recent "Trestle with Coupler," Myers creates a layered look through the yellowing leaves to a rusty train coupler, then beyond that through the tracks and down to the rushing river below. Virtually all of the works on display appear to be simple, straightforward depictions of some particular place, but they are actually all composites of different spaces and elements, often combining natural, organic components with man-made architectural objects. In Myers's 2001 painting, "Construction with Freight," there is an array of empty boxcars, a concrete highway overpass, steel fencing, and mounds of dirt making up strong horizontals that are bisected with with several bare trees to create a single space. This painting, like most of the others, has a frame-wiċthin-a-frame that draws our attention to the major elements within the composition. Those paintings framed with windows are obvious, but here gray trees act to bring attention to the ghostly open rail cars, producing an almost abstract appearance. The only painting that does not seem to fit this style is Myers's self-portrait. No frame-within-a-frame or composite assemblages of organic and inorganic objects-just himself. Luminous, built up shades of green and orange, but just him, looking out at us, at once real, and yet not real, a modest representation of a modest man.
A.B. Princeton UniversityB.F.A. Boston UniversityM.F.A. Queens College
Artist's Statement:
In a book on Braque, it pleased me to find this statement by Pierre Reverdy: "The poetic image is born of the bringing together of two more or less distant realities, between which only the spirit grasps the relationship." Some works of Braque embody this principle literally, by means of a bisected canvas, which helped inspire my series of diptychs. I call these diptychs 'Passages' because the word has a multiplicity of meanings associated with voyages, change, death, and contrast, like the contrast between tropic and temperate out of which Wallace Stevens made poetry. Two conditions or weathers or lights can be juxtaposed in a way that they become one, something greater than the sum of their parts. I'm interested in whatever can help me to discover the "poetry" within the "prose" of everyday appearances, at which point the representational becomes the "presentational." When a painting reads more as an image or sign than a resemblance, its autonomous life derives as much from the uninhibited application of paint itself, from discovering something in the very act of making, as it does from the ancient impulse to mimesis. That figuration can find further freshening in the innovations of 'action painting' testifies to an unforeseen continuity in the momentum of poetic thought. When the hermetic world of the canvas refreshes its motifs and the motifs return the favor, this mysterious integration opens up new zones of experience. Painting, a medium of silence and revelatory depth almost obsolete in a world of echoing surfaces, may find further ways to reclaim the flow of time, the passage of night into morning, late summer into fall, snow into sunlit thaw. Let it be as Stevens asserted: "These arts that are so often regarded as exhausted are only in their inception."
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