Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
by: Grace Coughlan, Staff Writer and Ashley de Sampaio Ferraz, Contributing Writer
Sandy Winters, an established painting, drawing, and printmaking artist, visited Towson University to speak about her creative process and to open her newest exhibit within the Art Gallery in CFA, “Creation and Destruction” Sept. 12
Sandy Winters studied at the University of Kansas, the University of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts College of Art, and Cornell University. She’s been featured in many group exhibitions and as well as solo exhibitions in museums and universities such as Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Indiana State University Art Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, and many more. “Creation and Destruction” will also be moving to Gettysburg College this spring.
“The show’s been on the books for quite a while,” said Susan Isaacs, a professor of Art History at Towson and the curator of Winters’ exhibit. “We book a minimum of two years in advance. I mean, this work is amazing. It’s been amazing.”
Isaacs first met Winters through a friend whom had curated one of Winters’ exhibits in 2014. She spoke about Winters’ unique ability to translate stories into her art and how there are many different narratives and clever titles that will catch the viewers’ eyes.
“Her technical skills are unbelievable,” Isaacs said. “I mean, she is an amazing draftsperson. You know, her drawing skills, her printmaking skills, her painting skills. She’s a dynamo of energy.”
Winters’ lecture gave the audience an inside look at the artistic process she used to create various works over time. She emphasized the importance of having long and short term goals, being able to ground yourself through the insecurities artists face, and finding your own voice as an artist.
Winters shared that she has found her own voice in the subject of dualities: ideas of life and death, what’s inside and what’s outside, feeling safe or being trapped, and figuring out what you want to be a part of. She explains how for over 30 years her theme for art has revolved around the myth of Dionysus, which is about putting yourself in uncomfortable situations to give birth to new, better ideas. In “Creation and Destruction,” this theme is present through her usage of varying materials and her reinvention of how they work together.
“I began to take on the idea that out of sacrificing something we’re too comfortable with, it actually grows or becomes something even more valuable or more fruitful,” Winters said. “So it’s happening in my work physically now because I’m cutting the block print up and I’m moving and I’m placing it in different places arbitrarily, and out of that it gives birth to a whole other scene.”
Winters also shared that she doesn’t plan her work or its themes before constructing them. She believes that if she comes to the image honestly, she will allow her audience to evoke their own feelings from the piece, instead of limiting them to the emotions that she felt.
“I want my forms to be believable, so that the viewer will actually enter the space and believe that maybe this could exist, therefore experiencing deja vu,” Winters said. “For me, it’s really important that if I get to the image subliminally, honestly, that the viewer will come to the image with their own personal history, and they will bring to it their own narrative.”
Winters’ idea of leaving the art to her viewers’ interpretations provides the freedom her audience needs to reach their own conclusions and pick out which concepts are most important to them.
Melissa Katz, a senior drawing and printmaking major at Towson, attended the lecture and shared which themes of Winters’ artwork seemed noteworthy in her opinion.
“I thought her idea of an insulated world was really interesting, and how she saw it as both a place to keep her safe and also something that limits her and can suffocate her,” Katz said.
Katz also shared how Winters’ ideas had an impact on how she will continue to create her own work as an artist herself.
“What she said about gaining momentum in your work and then pushing it and changing it and evolving it was pretty interesting to me, because just trying to find a voice with what you’re doing and making enough work where you feel comfortable pushing it further is pretty inspiring.”
“Creation and Destruction” will be open for viewing from now until Dec. 14 in the Center for the Arts, Art Gallery.