"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Monday, April 12, 2010

allan winkler

AW01 23" x 9" (including stand)

I’m pleased to present the first of the dolls that have been completed for the Change the Truth fundraising event. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will feature all of the talented and generous artists involved in this project, providing an opportunity for you to learn a bit about them. I will also give you a sneak peek at the doll that has been lovingly adorned and that will be sold at auction on the evening of June 25th. The artists have donated their time and creativity; all proceeds from the sale of each doll will go directly to help the children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage in Uganda.

Allan Winkler makes, among other things, metal and paper cut-outs. His most recent solo exhibitions have been at the Epsten Gallery, Bluebird Café and Shiraz Restaurant in Kansas City. His work can be found in many private and corporate collections, as well as the High Museum of Art, The Kansas City Art Institute and Hallmark Cards.

The following article, “A Whacked-Out, Cut-Out World, Brought To You By Artist Allan Winkler" written by Elisabeth Kirsch for the Kansas City Star, is a wonderful piece about Allan and his 2009 exhibition at the Epsten Gallery:

"It’s Allan Winkler’s planet, and the rest of us are just living on it. Fortunately, it’s a whacked-out, fun place to be, and often quite rewarding.

San Franciscans found that out in the 1970s, when Winkler received an Art in Public Places grant to transform the display windows of an abandoned building at Market Street and Fifth.

What was to be a three-week installation on one of the busiest streets in San Francisco turned into a three-year phenomenon, as Winkler’s hand-painted landscapes, giant papier-mâché animals and plants, and life-sized ceramic people and monsters gradually took over an entire city block. He got lots of newspaper coverage, while passersby contributed gifts and letters (including one signed ‘Madonna’).

Many in Kansas City are familiar with the 55-year-old artist’s metal and paper cut-outs, which have hung through the years in restaurants, community centers and other public places. His calendars have sold at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and his T-shirts at the Reading Reptile bookstore.

And people regularly drive by his house on the West Side, with its code-breaking assortment of bottles and artworks that sprawl on the front porch and beyond.

But even if you think you know Winkler’s immediately recognizable art, his latest exhibition of new work at the Epsten Gallery in Village Shalom is a marvelous installation with some real surprises. It’s as if this seasoned veteran has gotten a second wind and has risen to a new level of inventiveness.

Which is saying something.

In many cases Winkler has upped the scale of his work, to great effect. Five-feet-tall collaged heads made from boxes of consumer products hover on one wall, and in that scale their wide-open eyes have a trace of menace that adds to the overall intensity of the art.

Winkler has always been a master paper-cutter, but for the first time he is making cutouts in a variety of colors, and Epsten Gallery curator Marcus Cain has done a superb job assembling a mural-sized grid of multicolored faces, moons, animals and abstract forms together, creating a mosaic of pure energy.

On some of Winkler’s newest cutouts, different colors of paper are layered together and then cut open to form three-dimensional starbursts of various sizes. These forms could be flower petals, or they could be bullet holes; Winkler always manages to keep his work from being saccharine, which is what gives it staying power.

Winkler has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and has received numerous grants and commissions over the years. He also has been an artist-in-residence at various schools and has taught kindergarteners as well as university students. He is an accomplished drummer who plays with various bands.

Still, his work is distinguished by a genuine outsider art quality. Artist Garry Noland, who curated an exhibit of Winkler’s work 10 years ago at the Writers Place in Kansas City, observes: ‘I can’t tell if Allan is a naive sophisticate or a sophisticated naif.’

Winkler grew up in Chicago. ‘In high school I was a real outsider and a horrible student,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘I got straight F’s.’

His childhood, he said, had been difficult.

‘At 5 I had an undiagnosed illness that caused me to lose weight,’ he said. ‘I would pass out and hallucinate.’

His father — ‘not a nice man’ — was a brassiere salesman who stashed mannequins wearing bras all over the house, Winkler said. His mother sold motorcycles, and there were visits from Hell’s Angels. At 14, he lived in Berkeley during the Bay Area’s notorious 1967 Summer of Love.

Fortunately, Winkler’s high school English teacher, Richard Gragg, liked him enough that he arranged for the art department to give the failing student a big, empty room with a potter’s wheel where he could do what he wanted.

During his senior year, scouts from the Kansas City Art Institute saw his ‘art room’ and offered him a scholarship. He moved here. At KCAI, he wheedled his way out of the Foundations Department to move to the legendary ceramics department under Ken Ferguson.

Since then, Winkler has worked in textiles and glass, as well as paper and metal. He is a serious student of folk art and lived briefly with the renowned Rev. Howard Finster."


Anonymous said...

Great idea! Love seeing a creative mind work and gain success!!!!!! Hope it continues to grow!


Anonymous said...

Love it! Can;t wait to see more!

Anonymous said...

I come to realise that people are talented, mama G you have wonderful idea, i believe that event is gona wonderful