Kevin Winger’s Paintings Begin to Soar

Take a gamble and take a look! Artworks by local emerging artist Kevin Winger have taken a big step forward in maturity. Since his 2011 graduation from San Diego Mesa College with an A.A. degree in two-dimensional studies and fine art, Winger has dedicated himself to making his mark by creating oil paintings.

Did I did hear you right?

Yes, oil paintings!

Today, Winger’s valiant effort in trying to make a mark in the art world using such an unfashionable medium as oil painting is virtually quixotic as many current art institutions are virtually and often overtly hostile toward anything old school. The current art trends are conceptual and technology driven multi-media installations, video, and anything computer generated: such as copy and pasting images, digital photo manipulation, and programming virtual world simulations. While fashionable, current trends may not necessarily make long lasting impressions.

Since graduating, Winger has created a large body of mostly traditional horizon-based landscapes using only a palette knife to apply the paint with unusual scraping designs and additive impasto techniques. Recently, the artist’s tenacious work ethic has finally found a strong, unique voice. Winger has suddenly transformed his landscape imagery from traditional horizon-based views into aerial perspective views that give his new body of paintings, called the “Organic Demarcation Series,” a crazy quilt quality.

Kevin Winger's "Amalgam," 2014

Kevin Winger; Amalgam, 2014.
Oil on panel; diptych (each 24 x 20-inches) 24 x 41-inches overall. Image © 2014 by Kevin Winger.
Image courtesy Mod-est Studio Gallery.

Still using a palette knife, Winger’s paint application has also become more complex, and he is now crafting visual matrixes of thickly troweled multi-hued globs and smears using saccharine sweet color, which are rooted in both 1950s Abstract Expressionism and 1980s Neo Expressionism. The new paintings are bold, colorful riots of haphazard shapes undulating forward and rearward with twisting, turning lines. As placed in the crazy quilt manner, they appear to be veritable topographic countryside maps made from the regurgitations and excretions after consuming every sugar laced confection from an old time candy store.

An excellent example of his new style is a new diptych titled “Amalgam,” 2014. Its vigor of paint application and fractious eye-popping color give it a quality similar to viewing the devastation of “Candy Land” in the aftermath of violent cyclone strike—complete with crop circles where tornadoes touched down. The work is visually alluring due to its sensual contradictions of both subversive physical textures and violent shapes versus the artist’s overall palette of hues.

Winger is currently featured in a solo exhibition titled Exit Strategy at Mod-Est Studio Gallery in Point Loma’s Liberty Station. The artist’s great artistic leap forward is easy to see, since the solo exhibition features both earlier paintings alongside works from his new series.

Like Paul Cézanne working on his own in and around Aix-en-Provence, distinctive artworks can be created outside of the mainstream. In the tradition of other San Diego painters such as Richard Allen Morris or, ex-San Diegan, painter David Reed, Winger may indeed succeed in his valiant quest for ultimate success with more hard work and experimentation.

[box]Exit Strategy at Mod-Est Studio Gallery is on display from November 15, 2014 through February 17, 2015.[/box]

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