Featured Artist
Joan Winter
"Counterpoint (as in music) refers to the relationship of two or more
voices thatmare independent in contour and rhythm, although
interdependent in harmony".

Holly Johnson Gallery
1411 Dragon St.
Dallas, TX. 75207
Tel. 214-369-0169

The exhibition Joan Winter: Counterpoint represents a new
departure for this Dallas based artist. Commenting on the
exhibition title, Winter states, “…Counterpoint (as in music) refers
to the relationship of two or more voices that are independent
in contour and rhythm, although interdependent in
harmony…” Her definition mirrors one that can be found in a
Webster’s dictionary, counterpoint, defined as, “Use of contrast
or interplay of elements in a work of art”. The key words, as they
apply to her sculptures and prints, are rhythm and interplay. The
exquisite beauty of this exhibition is a testament to the
consummate craftsmanship evident in each sculpture and
print, and a result of her playful articulation of a simple form.
Winter describes the dominant form used in her works in this exhibition, as a curved
bean. It is an unusual form, rarely used in art, and alludes to natural, organic things like
seeds or pods, as well as obscure mechanical parts, perhaps, like a flange or sprocket.
But as well as the individual curved bean forms, Winter focuses upon their interaction.
how they intermingle and move through light and space. As sculpture, the curved bean
is formed in resin and wood. Counterpoint Two is a cast resin work of eight transparent
shapes, each one pinned to its adjoining neighbor and assuming a slightly different tilt,
which when placed on a base creates an illusion of an arrested rocking motion. Light
plays over the surface and through their voids, creating patterns of overlapping shadows.
Wood is Winter’s primary sculptural medium. In Counterpoint 1, the curved bean forms
have been cut and shaped on a band saw during the assembly process. The outer skin of
wood is a veneer, chosen for its color and surface pattern. This adds a subtle richness to
the simple forms. The wood veneers she chooses as a skin over the structures she builds all
possess poetic names, Bird’s Eye Maple, Quilted Maple, and Tamo Ash Burl; names that
spring up in our imagination as gracefully as her forms rest upon their bases, or in the case
of Silver Shadow, (of Bird’s Eye Maple and Lacquered Birch), mounted on the gallery wall
Having worked in the field of Architecture, Winter has a great love of Japanese
architecture, and her fabrication of wood forms, and even the boxes she builds to hold
the molds for her cast resins are impeccably crafted. Although small to mid-sized, her
sculptures feel perfectly scaled. Illumination also plays its part, surrounding the shell of
the curved bean form, and penetrating its void in light and shadow. Winter is a
fabricator of diverse materials and idiosyncratic forms that define spaces within as well
as outside their contours.

Inspiration for Counterpoint came in what Winter describes as dance movements in a
box of light and shadow. The work is her reaction to Push, a performance by the Sadler’
s Wells dance ensemble in New York in 2005. This series of solos and duets were
performed on an empty stage, accompanied only by lighting and guitar music. Winter
was fascinated by the measured movements of the dances and how light and shadow
weaved patterns around the bodies of the intertwined dancers. Winter has titled the
prints chosen for this exhibit after the individual dances from Push. The format for her
three multi-plate etchings from the series Shift is based on the long verticals that
achieved some popularity during the Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan. Known as
hashira-e, or pillar prints, these long narrow works on paper were often hung on posts
within the Japanese home.

The Shift series prints measure 59 inches long and 14 inches wide, a shape that presents
a challenge, but one that Winter takes advantage of by maximizing the vertical thrust
of the curved bean form as it cascades down the length of the narrow sheets. The lines
of these etchings intersect and as they overlap, at that juncture, the lines thicken. The
two Rise and Fall etchings remind us of the prints and paintings by Brice Marden from
the 1990’s and his series titled Cold Mountain, his response to the abstract flow of
Chinese calligraphy. But Marden’s looping forms, mostly rendered on rectangular
formats, tend to curve back into the compositional field as they reach to edge of the
paper or canvas. Winter’s Rise and Fall prints, on the other hand, tend to loop beyond
the framing edge, suggesting that they are but a partial view of a larger composition.  
Running the longitudinal length of the paper, they also suggest a Zen-like infinitude.
Winter’s use of color in her prints is sensual. There is a silkiness to the grays in her Shift prints,
and in the  mottled green in the series of Medley etchings provides a luxurious  background
for the burgundy colored bean shapes and their cream colored shadows. Color
compliments the paper she chooses to print on, mulberry paper for the Shift prints, Fabriano
Artistico and Kitikata for the Medley series and Rives BFK for the Rise and Fall etchings. It is
her attention to the quality materials that she selects to work with that is as intelligent as the
forms and images she creates.
Counterpoint began as a series of photogravures whose images were small six inch cast
resin sculptures that Winter had included in a previous exhibition. There is a sense of
cohesiveness to her art. Her focus on a few primary shapes as articulated in various
materials heightens our awareness of both form and substance.  At times, Winter takes
advantage of collaboration, working with other artist technicians, as in production of her
prints that were produced at Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas. The handmade Abaca paper
used in Counterpoint I and Counterpoint II, was created with the assistance of Dieu Donne
Papermill in New York City and the photogravures were produced at Manneken Press in
Bloomington, Illinois.  
There is an interesting variety of scale to the work in this exhibition, from the large, three
panel acrylic on linen, Golden Section, measuring 6 by 9 feet, to the small photogravure’s,
whose image is nine inches square. There is also the impression that Winter’s preoccupation
with materials and forms have been put to the service of rendering the effluxion of time. The
passage of time measured in the act of creation followed by our contemplation of the art.
As she passes her laminated wood pieces through the band saw she cuts out a new form,
leaving pieces of the previous form on the studio floor. As she etches a form on a plate to
print an image on paper, the ghost of the printed piece is left on the etching plate. What
Joan Winter leaves for us in her exhibit Counterpoint, are sculptures that capture the
elusive nature of natural light, and prints, whose illusionary nature present forms that
intermingle with their shadows.
By Jim Edwards
Untitled 2
Untitled 1
Together - 38x42.5x23
Counterpoint 1                       Counterpoint 2
Among Us - 16.5 x 24 x 18
Counterpoint Two - 12 x 36.5 x 15
Rise and Fall Two

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