From The Paris Review:
Terry Winters works on the fifth floor of a Tribeca walk-up. It is a steep climb, but the space is serene and open, decorated with a few large Nigerian ceramics, a framed Weegee photograph, and of course Winters’s own drawings and watercolors (he does his oil painting in a studio in the country). It is also remarkably free of clutter for an artist who describes himself as an “image junky.” Winters spends a lot of time here—“I try to show up for the job,” he remarks when I ask him about his daily practice—though he does not have much by way of routine, allowing the needs of the project to shape his day. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Winters’s first solo show at the Sonnabend Gallery. Now represented by Matthew Marks, Winters’s work continues to be informed by the ideas that animated his very first exhibition. One constant—besides his New York studio, where he has worked from the very start of his career—has been his use of found images, which he faithfully collects and assembles into collages that serve as miniature laboratories for future paintings. But the collages, with their layers and juxtapositions, their invocation of modern technology (several feature visible URLs, linking to universities and laboratories) and natural forms, are also lovely in their own right. In Winters’s current show at Matthew Marks—and on view for the first time in the United States—are images from his “Notebooks,” which showcase the artist’s process as an indelible part of his larger vision. I stopped by Winters’s studio on a mid-February afternoon. What follows are excerpts from our conversation about his practice, photos from the visit, and several images from the “Notebooks.”
In the current show there’s a clear extension of many ideas from my first exhibition. The beginnings of the “Notebook” collage project actually date from that time—clippings that I made in the eighties. Hopefully, the concerns of the work have widened and gotten deeper over time. The collages are a way of thinking for me. I use photographic or computer-generated images that are then transposed through a succession of layers to provoke unforeseen connections. The collages are complete in themselves, but they can also suggest other ways for me to explore their subjects or themes, as drawings or paintings, for example.