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Gerald Peters Contemporary exhibits works by Clay Vorhes and Roger Winter
Roger Winter, PS 93, 2018, oil on linen, 72 x 72 x 1 1/4 inches.

SANTA FE, NM.- Gerald Peters Contemporary is presenting an exhibition of new oil paintings by Clay Vorhes. Featuring his signature motif of circus performers, the exhibition highlights the artist’s colorful and exuberant works.

Employing the subject of trapeze as a way to explore the balance and tension of representation and abstraction, Vorhes creates a vibrant atmosphere, deploying the thrills of the circus in a sophisticated subversion of the eye and mind. Large swathes of color are interrupted by strong diagonals lyrically dotted with the trapeze performers, bringing both geometric precision and optical fantasy to these playful scenes.

“When seen from afar, these arresting images seem like non-objective compositions. The network of lines that thrust across each canvas harks back to the taunt, haunting geometries of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean park series. As one moves closer, however, it soon becomes clear that these paintings are populated by small figures that hang, leap and suspend precariously from the linear frame….In visual terms, these figures provide accents that offer relief from the stark scaffold of lines. They punctuate the compositions, creating a cadence of organic points and counter-points,” Michael Zakian, Director, Fredrick Weisman Museum of Art.

A protégé of Wayne Thiebaud, Vorhes came to painting as a second career in his mid-30s. His encounter with Thiebaud’s work and the painter himself was so significant it changed the course of his life and work. Now, eighteen years later, Vorhes is an accomplished painter with several museum exhibitions and private collectors throughout the US and Europe.

Inspired by the construction sites which dot his home city of Manhattan, Roger Winter’s latest series of scaffoldings, exposed buttresses, elevator shafts and otherwise overlooked moments of urban demolition, find fresh meaning in the artist’s geometric and precisionist works.

The simplified linear compositions of Winter’s cityscapes evolved in 2016 while the artist concentrated on condensing his work––reducing it to essentials. “An artist's imperative is to grow, sometimes in small steps and sometimes in metamorphic leaps,” he says. “My current geometric works, while derived from the visibly intelligible world, are more real to me than any previous representational works. A painting of a square is a square, whatever its metaphysical or poetic references. But to borrow from Magritte, a painting of a pipe is not a pipe.”

The varied widths, color, and textures among the paintings’ strong geometric lines create a richness of multiplicity within their structure. Art historian Susie Kalil, author of Roger Winter: Fire and Ice, remarks, “The overlapping shapes, the harmonious and dissonant mix of colors and the deep shadows created by strong light emphasize the rich, visual geometries of Manhattan, if not the very beat of the city.”

Roger Winter, born in Denison, Texas, lives and works in New York. He holds a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a MFA from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He returned to Texas in 1961 where he taught drawing and painting at Southern Methodist University for twenty-six years.

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