I paint from imagination, even though the final image always resembles the “real” world in a general way. For me a painting always begins from inside, an intuition of how I might distill simple motifs like trees or a repeated pattern of railroad ties into something fresh. This allows me to work with abstract and representational elements at the same time. A freight car is an efficient conveyor of goods, but also an interesting arrangement of shapes and colors, and maybe something else as well, something with a potential for poetry. As Morandi said, “There is nothing more surreal and abstract than reality.”
An artist’s poetic insight is developed mostly by working, but also by looking at other art, and by staying with the question: what is it that only painting can do, or that painting does best? In a sense all painting is still life—silent, but alive on its own terms.
I taught art history along with studio courses for many years. That record of the heights of human accomplishment can provide some perspective on the anxieties of our moment. From it most artists evolve their own private pantheons—those who call us to go further than we thought we could. I often go back to Morandi’s extraordinary etchings. Or to Braque’s late work. Braque wasn’t afraid to make brutally ugly paintings, which allowed him to make elegant ones.
•1941 Born NYC.
•1962 A.B. Princeton University.
•1968 B.F.A. Boston University.
•1969 Max Beckmann Fellowship, Brooklyn Museum Art School.
•1971 M.F.A. Queens College.
•1969—1970 Instructor of Drawing, Exeter Summer School.
•1969—1971 Instructor of Drawing and Painting, Brooklyn Museum Art School High School Program.
•1972—2004 Chair, Visual Arts, Bancroft School, Worcester, MA.
•1973—1985 Instructor of Drawing and Painting, Education. Division and School of the Worcester Art Museum.
•1981—1982 Lecturer in Fine Arts, Assumption College.
•1985–2002: Instructor of Drawing and Painting, Grad. and Continuing Ed., Assumption College (Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2002).
•1989–2003: Instructor of History of Art and Foundation Drawing, Pre-College Program, Rhode Island School of Design.
•2012— Volunteer Instructor, Coastal College
•2022 Solo exhibition, River Arts
•2021 Juried group show at River Arts
•2021 Art In Maine juried group show. First Prize
•2021 “Contemporary Realism,” juried group show, Maine Art Gallery, Wiscasset
•2021 “Land and Sea,” juried group show, River Arts, Damariscotta, Maine
•2020 10th Portland Biennale, Greenhut Gallery
•2020, juror, “Artist’s Choice, Riverarts, Damariscotta, Maine
•2019 Solo Exhibition, Central Lincoln County YMCA
•2019 Solo Exhibition, The Yellow Barn, Rockland, Maine
•2018 “When Will We Ever Learn?,” group exhibition, Yvette Torres Fine Art,Rockland, ME
•2017 “Take Flight,” group exhibition, George Marshall Gallery, York, ME
•2017 Rocks ‘n Waves, Kefauver Gallery, Damariscotta, ME
•2016 Curator’s Selection (group show) George Marshall Gallery, York, ME
•2016 Maine: A Continuum of Place, Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME
•2016 Group show, Open Spaces: Reimagining Pastoral Maine, L.C. Bates Museum, Fairfield, ME
•2016 Faces and Figures juried group show, Riverarts Gallery, Damariscotta, ME
•2015 Group show, Gallery Artists, Yvette Torres Fine Arts, Rockland, ME
•2015 Rhode Island School of Design Alum and Faculty Show, Gallery 253, Boothbay, ME
•2015 Portraits, Solo show, Sotheby’s, 170 Main St. Damariscotta, ME
•2014 Faces and Figures, Juried Exhibition, Riverarts Gallery, Damariscotta, ME
•2014 Boston University Alumni Juried Exhibition, Boston, MA
•2014 Solo Show, Gallery 2, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
•2013 First Prize, Boothbay Region Art Foundation Juried Exhibition
•2013 Group exhibition, Visions of the River, Round Top, Damariscotta, ME.
•2012 Solo exhibition, Yvette Torres Fine Arts, Rockland, ME
•2010 Three person group exhibition, “Environments,” Lamont Art Gallery, Exeter Academy.
•2008 Solo show, Paintings 2005-2008, Gallery 170, Damariscotta Mills, ME.
•2008 Juried Group exhibition, “The Boat Show,” Studio Place Arts, Barre, VT.
•2007 Two person exhibition with Sam Thurston, Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT.
•2006 Juried Group Exhibition, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT.
•2005 Exhibition of 9 Large Paintings, Gallery 170, Damariscotta, ME.
•2003 Solo Show, Portraits and Passages, Bancroft School, Worcester, MA.
•2002 Juried exhibition, Re:Semblance-Contemporary Portraiture, Arts Worcester Gallery.
•2002 New Work/Older Work, Arts Worcester Gallery, Quinsigamond College, Worcester, MA.
•2002 Group Shows, Greene Gallery, Guilford, CT.
•2000 Paintings and drawings, 1966-2000, Round Top Center for the Arts, Damariscotta, ME.
•1999 Rice Gallery, Bancroft School, Worcester, MA.
•1990-1998 Faculty Shows, Rhode Island School of Design.
•1995 Juried Alumni Drawing Show, Boston University.
•1993 Rice Gallery, Bancroft School, Worcester, MA.
•1978–1990 Group Shows, Kennedy Galleries, 40 West 57th St., N.Y.C.
•1984 ‘Urban Light and Geometry,’ Holy Cross College, Worcester.
•1983 Cultural Assembly Invitational, Worcester.
•1978 ‘A Sense of Place,’ Thorne Gallery, Keene St. College, Keene, NH.
•1977 The Worcester Open, Worcester Art Museum.
•1976 Solo Show, Brooks School Gallery, Andover, MA.
•1975 ‘Four Figurative Painters,’ Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA.
•1975 Solo Show, Tyler Gallery, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT.
•1973 ‘Five Painters,’ Berkshire Art Museum, Pittsfield, MA.
•1971 ‘Three Object Painters,’ Lamont Gallery, Exeter Academy.
Reviews and Articles
•December 2015,Feature, Maine Home and Design, The Architecture Issue
•2015,Feature, Maine Home and Design, Bonus Art Edition
•Maine Seniors, Winter 2015
•August 2008, Kay Liss, The Lincoln County News,”Myers’ Work Creates a Whole From Contrasting Halves”.
•October 2002, Leon Nigrosh, Worcester Magazine,”Re-Semblance.”
•June 27, 2002, Leon Nigrosh, Worcester Magazine, “New Work/Older Work”.
•July 6, 2000, Lincoln County Weekly, “Round Top Art Goes Indoors, Outdoors.”
•November 15, 1984, Worcester Telegram, “Exhibit Zeros in on Urban Scene.”
•July 1, 1977, Christian Science Monitor, “Competitive Show has a ‘Round Dozen’ High Points.”
Myers’ Work Creates a Whole From Contrasting Halves
(Review by Kay Liss, The Lincoln County News, August 15, 2008)
In his artist’s statement, Winslow Myers evokes one of his seemingly favorite statements by the author of a work on the French abstract painter, Georges Braque: “The poetic image is born of the bringing together of two more or less distant realities, between which only the spirit grasps the relationship.”
Myers goes on to say that Braques’ work, some of which embody this principle “literally” in that they are actually bisected into two contrasting images, helped inspire him to create a series of diptychs entitled “Passages,” now on view at Gallery 170 in its new spacious venue in Damariscotta Mills.
Myers, who is from Maine and is the son of Julia and the late Edward Myers of Walpole, works primarily in a very large format, most of his “Passages” series being nearly or over, five by five feet. The two halves of canvases play with a variety of contrasting elements: in views from close up and far way; in machinery and nature; interiors and exteriors; and in seasons.
They are meticulously painted, another interesting contrast in that, though the works are large, upon closer inspection the viewer can often see a pointillist approach to applying the paint on an almost invisible grid system, creating the illusion of depth in a background. This technique is used to particularly impressive effect in “Passages XI” of an old train trestle in a fall scene contrasted with an interior scene of a cozy couch, a window behind it depicting snow falling in the woods beyond.
In such works, machinery, represented by the bridge, doesn’t create a threatening image, imposing itself upon nature, but rather seems to blend into and become part of nature. This is evident in another wonderful work, “Passages VIII,” in which an old iron train, though spouting black smoke, is sprinkled with a mossy green, making it almost meld into the green hillside background and, actually, making it a thing of strange beauty. On the other half is a snow packed trail between two pines. The colors, as in most of the paintings, are finely balanced in both halves, creating a connecting harmony.
The most important connecting element in these diptyches, notwithstanding all their contrasts, is the theme of “Passages,” they each depict passages of some kind, whether it’s a passage by train or the implied skiing down a snowy mountain pass, the passage of the eye through a window or traveling by plane or boat. The latter type of passage is majestically represented in “Passages IX” of a close-up of the front of a sailboat, its jib tilting starboard in the wind and the bottom of its mainsail hanging steady. Ahead is a spit of Maine coast with its tall pines and rocky ledge. On the other side of the canvas is a distant snowy ski slope.
Myers also has displayed some smaller studies to the larger works. In most of them, it’s obvious that such close-up scenes of large objects, such as bridges or train trestles, work much better in a large format. There are a few, however, that belie this rule. One is “Plane Study,” 16 by 16 inches, of a tip of an airplane wing as seen from a window looking out and the mountains below, all in gray tones with a bit of white. For some reason, it simply works as a small piece, though its larger relative is not part of this show to compare.
The artist’s careful preparation for embarking on a large work is evident as well in skillfully drawn pencil sketches.
The paintings, all in acrylic, have the capacity to make one linger in looking, as a gallery visitor commented. There’s so much to see and think about, though perhaps not in a “hidden” symbolic way; they are complicated, surely, yet not in a psychological sense. They indeed create a poetic whole from “the bringing together of distant realities,” grasped best by the spirit and the delighted eye.
Myers, recently retired from teaching in Massachusetts and formerly at the Rhode Island School of Design, has previously shown in this area, at Gallery 170 and the former Round Top Center for the Arts. His work has been shown extensively in Vermont and Massachusetts beginning in the early 1970s.
New Work/Older Work
(Review by Leon Nigrosh, Worcester Magazine, June 27, 2002)
Born and raised Down Maine, Winslow Myers reflects his upbringing. He is reserved and self-effacing, but he has a great deal of inner strength. He just received an award for 30 years of teaching at the Bancroft School, where he is chair of the visual arts department.
Coincidentally, his current exhibition of 19 paintings at the ARTSWorcester Gallery at Quinsigamond Community College is a retrospective of the same 30 years of his personal artistry. And much like the artist, the paintings are quiet, modest and unpretentious.
Many of these paintings fall into certain categories with themes that reoccur over the years. One of his earliest works in the show, the 1973 “Marine 3,” is a close-up study in furled sails, with the treatment of the fabric carried out in much the same manner as earlier artists handled classic experiments in clothing drapery. Four other canvases continue to explore this motif, each with different results, colorations and attitude: “July Squall” from 2000 is painted in monochromatic greens with foaming chop on the waters, showing the sails wrapped up for safety. Completed last year, “Arrival” depicts a brighter day with sails tied because of the immanent landing. The majority of the canvases on exhibit are nearly five- feet square. They are, for the most part, painted in thin layers, which allow the texture of the linen to lend pebbly appearance to the works.
As with many artists, Myers spends a lot of time in his studio, and derives inspiration from this experience. The early “Interior with Drive-in Screen” is a look through his green window frame toward a view of a large pale blue rectangle. This spare composition is intensified by tiny green diamond-patterned wallpaper that frames the window frame, while the top of a brown radiator skirts across the bottom of the canvas. The character of his spaces is always changing depending on the time of day or season of the year. “Garret Room” is so darkly painted that we almost miss the hanging smock. But his latest studio painting, “The Floodlight,” is bright and cheerful, even though it is set in winter, as the snow-covered trees outside attest. The painting, with a large, old lamp reflector to one side, shows a glass bowl with large flowers centered in the window with an easel alongside holding a painting of a still life, unfinished.
Myers is also interested in trains, or at least in parts of trains. Several paintings in the show feature railroad imagery, such as the 1981 “Freights in Afternoon Sunlight,” where we see the tops of boxcars as they pass by a jumble of houses in the distance. These brightly colored, blocky buildings are reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s (1882-1967) flat-surfaced renditions of ordinary American architecture. By placing the vantage point from above in his recent “Trestle with Coupler,” Myers creates a layered look through the yellowing leaves to a rusty train coupler, then beyond that through the tracks and down to the rushing river below.
Virtually all of the works on display appear to be simple, straightforward depictions of some particular place, but they are actually all composites of different spaces and elements, often combining natural, organic components with man-made architectural objects. In Myers’s 2001 painting, “Construction with Freight,” there is an array of empty boxcars, a concrete highway overpass, steel fencing, and mounds of dirt making up strong horizontals that are bisected with several bare trees to create a single space. This painting, like most of the others, has a frame-within-a-frame that draws our attention to the major elements within the composition. Those paintings framed with windows are obvious, but here gray trees act to bring attention to the ghostly open rail cars, producing an almost abstract appearance.
The only painting that does not seem to fit this style is Myers’s self-portrait. No frame-within-a-frame or composite assemblages of organic and inorganic objects-just himself. Luminous, built up shades of green and orange, but just him, looking out at us, at once real, and yet not real, a modest representation of a modest man.