TERRY WINTERS at Matthew Marks

Terry Winters, Knotted Graphs/1, 2008, 77 x 98 inches, oil on linen

It's an unusually great month for painting in Chelsea and beyond. I'll try to discuss some of the high points including Mary Heilmann, Joan Mitchell and others in upcoming posts. But for now -- it has been quite a while since I've seen a new group of Terry Winters paintings, and his latest batch at Matthew Marks certainly does not disappoint. This work is a major departure from the dense linear layers that formed an almost static inpenetrable screen in Winters' late '90s work. The new pieces actually seem to be more directly related to the "pod" configurations of the mid-'80s, except that rather than the deep soupy atmospheric space of those works, Winters is using a grid structure to activate a lively and dynamic interplay of image, surface and color in a frontal presentation space. The real depth of these works is found in layer upon layer of translucent surface, pentimenti, and just plain luscious painting. The "image" is an endlessly fluid and changeable set of relations that mutate visibly throughout the duration of the painting process. By limiting himself to repitition of a knot-like configuration within the stable grid structure, Winters re-envigorates his unique ability to manipulate pictorial space (and paint), within, through, around the grid with masterful fluency. And within the parameters of this program, each individual work is invested with a distinctive focus and color world -- wringing maximum richness from each variation. These works are generous, open and unapologetically opulent -- abstract paintings in which the subject and the object breathe together, sharing one inseparable physicality.