Emi Winter has been a painter since the 1990s, working largely in the abstract tradition; however, over the past five years her work has moved in a more figurative direction. Of this reorientation Winter says simply: “I wanted to know more.” Abstraction was no longer providing answers for her internal questions, and an increased interest in reconnecting the mysteries hidden in the human psyche with the painted surface prompted forms and images to emerge in her work.
Winter lets these new paintings speak for themselves, often quite directly. Conscious intent plays a role in their creation, but a limited one; Winter allows her process to direct the work’s unfolding. This openness to happenstance and discovery creates conditions for imagery to surface—imagery that is at once stark, ambiguous, and psychologically fraught.
Winter’s new group of works was created during the summer of 2017, a period of personal upheaval for the artist, which concluded around the time she completed the series. The largest painting in the exhibition, YA NO, 2017, depicts two figures in confrontation: a hammer and a pair of scissors screaming “YA NO (no more).” Other, smaller works mostly consist of texts and images that conjoin like cut-out moments from last night’s dream. Winter sees these smaller works in the series as resembling ex-voto paintings, expressing a need for relief and regeneration. Embedded in many of the paintings are petitions or prayers, written in Spanish or English to reflect the artist’s life lived between different cultures: “Doy gracias a esta culebra que me picó pues su veneno me hizo sentir vida (I am grateful to this snake that bit me for its poison made me feel alive),” “Doy gracias porque sigo viva a pesar de que en el 2015 y 2016 pensé que me iba a morir (I am grateful because I'm still alive even though in 2015 and 2016 I thought I was going to die),” “Doy gracias que veo bien porque hace un año pensé que me iba a quedar ciega y que nunca volvería a ver todas las cosas bonitas de este mundo y a las personas que tanto quiero (I am grateful that I see well because one year ago I thought I was going to go blind and that I would never again look at all the beautiful things in this world and all the people I love so much),” and “This rock absorbs nothing so the water splashes around it and lands back on itself.”