Art: Obliquely Addressing Nature

In New York, Terry Winters' stimulating one-man show

Among the few respectable things in that stew of American vanguard kitsch, the 1985 Whitney Biennial, was a large painting by a 36-year-old artist named Terry Winters. Done in a thick, ocherous impasto, which produced a paint surface that looked both lavish and summarily abbreviated, the image suggested (of all unlikely things) mushrooms: swollen glands like morels, crinkled and cellular, standing up in ranks like an array of mysterious brown balloons. It was odd to find any painting in such a show that addressed itself--however obliquely or eccentrically--to nature. But its relation to nature did not look simple. The painting was...

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