New-York-based abstract artist Terry Winters has made a career out of flying just under the radar, embarking on a 40-year career in the mid-seventies which has morphed over the years from monochrome studies of natural organisms and botanical subjects to his current practice, which often re-elaborates digitally generated imagery, pitting chaos theory and seemingly automatic patterns against meticulous craft. Something of a modern-day creative scientist, Winters has delved deep into the very nature and composition of the pigments he uses; and the visual representation of the chemical and biological structures he comes across in his restless research often becomes the subject of his paintings, drawings and screenprints.
A whole generation younger, Josh Smith comes out of an exuberant American expressionist tradition that channels Willem de Kooning via Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel. He became mildly famous towards the end of the noughties for his ‘signature’ paintings, in which the words JOSH SMITH were scrawled across the canvas, and his vaguely Warholian phase in which he reproduced the standard US highway STOP sign over and over. But his art is more varied than this would suggest, as emotional as it is conceptual. He shares with Winters a fascination with natural forms, and like his older colleague, he is an accomplished printmaker as well as a painter.
The two artists are the focus of a joint exhibition at Neapolitan gallery Casamadre, which opened at the beginning of 2013. Run by Eduardo Cicelyn, former director of the Madre contemporary art centre, the gallery occupies a space that is part of the city’s cultural history – it was here, in Piazza dei Martiri, that collector and gallerista Lucio Amelio opened a gallery in 1969 that almost single-handedly launched Naples onto the international art scene. Of the meeting between Winters and Smith, Cicelyn writes: “What force unites these two artists and resolves their differences? One’s first impression is that it’s a form of painting that no longer tells a story, which takes place on the surface, which is a pure, proud, fluent language”.
Piazza dei Martiri 58
from 6 March 2015