Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, New York
HHK Foundation for Contemporary Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Purchased by Akron Art Museum, July 19, 1983
2007 - : Haslinger galleries, 7/7/07 - , Akron Art Museum
1997 - 1998: "A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Collection" 11/15/97 - 1/11/98, Akron Art Museum
1994: "Selections from the Collection" 6/25/94 - 8/21/94, Akron Art Museum
1991 - 1993: "Jackie Winsor" tour, Organized by Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
11/22/91 - 1/19/92, Milwaukee Art Museum
2/2/92 - 3/29/92, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California
4/25/92 - 7/12/92, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
8/15/92 - 11/1/92, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
11/21/92 - 1/17/93, Akron Art Museum
1991 - 1992: "Focus on the Collection: A 70th Anniversary Celebration" 11/3/91 - 1/5/92, Akron Art Museum
1987: "Sculpture from the Permanent Collection" 6/13/87 - 8/16/87, Akron Art Museum
1985 - 1986: "Permanent Collection Gallery" Akron Art Museum
1979: "Jackie Winsor" 1/19/79 - 3/13/79, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1976 - 1977: "Jackie Winsor: Sculpture" tour, organized by The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
10/2/76 - 11/21/76, The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
12/17/76 - 1/22/77, Portland Center for Visual Arts, Portland, Oregon
2/24/77 - 4/10/77, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
#2 Copper, 1976
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
"Art making is about taking parts and making wholes," Jackie Winsor has explained.1 Her painstakingly constructed cubes, spheres, and other geometric forms breathe rich life into common construction materials and address compelling human desires for order and unity. She imbues rope and copper, concrete and wood lathe with subtle and sensual effects.
Vera Jacqueline Winsor was born in the provincial capital of the Island of Newfoundland, which later became Canada's easternmost province. In 1952 her father, a self-trained engineer, moved the family to Boston, where Winsor took classes at local art schools. After undergraduate and graduate studies in art, she moved to New York in 1967. She has journeyed to China, India, and Tibet, where she has found both philosophical and spiritual affinities. Her many international exhibitions include two solo shows at the Akron Art Museum.
The process of creating an object is almost as important to Winsor as the finished piece. Unlike many contemporary sculptors, she eschews machine fabrication and working with foundries and factories. Instead, like a traditional craftsperson, she makes objects by hand, investing them with the memory of human touch no matter what material is used. Rarely are her works more than three feet square. Though some may weigh up to two thousand pounds and take several years to complete, they are modest objects, not monuments.
The wrapping of coils to form spheres in #2 Copper is typical of Winsor's earliest works, which were formed of rope or carefully bundled balls of twine. #2 Copper also forms a cube. Winsor’s longtime exploration of cubical structures owes a debt to the Minimalism of Donald Judd (see pp. 150–51) and Sol LeWitt (see pp. 180–81), but her simple forms are metaphorical, not analytical. Winsor’s cubes, for example, are about joining six sides into perfect union. She explains that art "is not about the object per se; it is a vehicle through which you get to express and experience" other things that are elusive, mysterious, and sustaining.
Winsor rarely produces studies or sketches but visualizes the objects in her mind before commencing. She spends much time searching for appropriate materials. "Just as friends are pulled to you by some magnetic energy that matches up with yours, so materials are drawn to you." Artist and materials "are in partnership with each other, involved in a kind of dance in which no one is leading and no one is following."
In #2 Copper, there are two types of materials: one an inorganic, shiny metal, the other an organic, matte wood. Thick #2 gauge copper wire is wound into seventy-two balls on thirty-six wooden staves that are fifty-one inches tall and one inch thick. The heaviness of the copper plays off the lightness of the airy grid. The round shapes contrast with the square ends of the sticks as well as the cubic form of the overall sculpture. This complexity unites into an overall form that is impressive in its calm and silence. The sense of mass and weight, no less than the earth tones of the materials, resonate a sensation of being grounded and complete.
The art world of the 1970s was newly politicized by feminist activity, one aspect of which sought to reestablish an appreciation for the hand labor of women as opposed to industrial fabrication. To rough construction materials typically associated with masculinity Winsor introduced the surprising handwork of winding copper wire into a ball, as if it were a skein of yarn. This union of masculine and feminine sensibilities results in a meditative equilibrium that approaches the spiritual.
- Mitchell D. Kahan, 2001
1. All quotes by the artist are from an interview in Jackie Winsor/Barry Ledoux: Sculpture (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Hayden Gallery, Mass. Institute of Technology, 1984), not paginated.
Mifflin, Margot. "Jackie Winsor: Pieces of Life." ARTnews (summer 1992): 100–105.
Sobel, Dean. Jackie Winsor. Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1991.