The American painter and printmaker Terry Winters
often draws inspiration from science, architecture, and information systems, and his largest series of prints, “Atmospheres” (2014), is no exception. “Atmospheres” derives its title from a 1961 symphonic piece by Hungarian composer György Ligeti. Ligeti felt that his “Atmospheres” was a tightly packed polyphony, a collection of melodies that harmonize with each other that, in his words
, resembles “a densely woven cobweb.” Winters has chosen to reproduce this quality by building a complex coating of black, white, and silver inks. Some of these prints, like Atmospheres (detail no. 8)
, have more than 38 separate print layers from nine different screens. Winters also purposefully employed inks that are used for the building of braille type—he has playfully created works that can be read both by sight and by touch.
In total, 12 of these large screenprints were produced on sheets of Lanaquarelle paper, each nearly four-by-five feet. In many of the details in “Atmospheres,”Winters plays with a gridded structure that he then begins to manipulate and break. For example, Atmospheres (detail no.1) features rows and columns of black dots for about three-quarters of the paper, with the numbers “1 2 3 4” at the top of the print. As the eye moves from the bottom of the print to the top, a second layer of silver ink creates a distinct webbing. Another print, Atmospheres (detail no. 6), utilizes a gridded net of triangles in black ink and carefully placed clusters of circles in silver. The end result is that of a transparent circle of clarity, where one can see the depth of the clusters and layers through the ink.
Of his work, Winters has said there is “a cognitive frame that [he’s] trying to work inside of, and that frame is always shifting and hopefully evolving in order to create new situations within which to improvise, experiment, and play.”