Silence Breaking: Gail Winbury

August 27, 2024 - December 6, 2024
Karl and Helen Burger Gallery

About the Exhibition

What does an abstract painting have to do with identity, an individual’s voice, and shattered silence?


For abstract expressionists, the validity of a work lies in its truthfulness and connection to expression. A painting is meant to be an exposé of the artist’s identity.
The gesture, the artist’s “signature,” is evidence of the actual process that went into the work’s creation. When you achieve the art of dynamic gesture, every inch of the canvas is fully charged, it becomes an “action painting,” a phrase used by art critic Harold Rosenberg in the 20th century. The canvas becomes a field, a sports arena, a place to act, instead of a reproduction of an existing (real or imagined) object.

Winbury’s Field of Green series are bold action work. She moves across the canvas with decisive gestural movements, allowing her intention, and subconscious to drive pigment stick strikes and brush strokes. This series, with its fundamental simplicity and subdued directness is counteracted by omission or subtraction, using a “less is more” approach noted by art critic, Dominique Nahas. Winbury’s creation of an outwardly calm dynamic is complimented by her gift for mystery through reduction. Her emotional prowess and life experiences are expertly conveyed onto her canvas.

Winbury believes that art takes psychology one step further, into a wordless space, something felt but not expressed out loud.

What does it mean to break the silence?

The human experience is unique to each individual. There may be some similarities, however, moments are experienced through a personal lens. Winbury’s identity, ladened with actions over her lifetime, is confidently revealed.

She is inspired by other artists; her life experiences; her thoughts, feelings, and emotions collalacing to elevate her work, which in turn has motivated others to react and respond, breaking the silence of abstract expressionism through the written word.

Selected Works

Field of Green V
Field of Green V,  2023, Gail Winbury, oil, pigment stick, charcoal, 48x48 in
Field of Green VI
Field of Green VI,  2023, Gail Winbury, oil, pigment stick, charcoal, 48x48 in
Field of Green
Gail Winbury

Artist Statement

Gail Winbury's task is to put into visual language, that which can not or dare not be uttered aloud. Her art takes psychology one step further, from the wordless to that which is felt but dare not express in verbal language. Art captures what we experience before we can name it.

"The Other Side" series of 15 paintings captures childhood moments of fear, helplessness, bliss, and anger. Each oil painting used one early memory and translated it through color, gesture, texture, and form. Large canvases are intimidating by their sheer size recreating a child/parent relationship. Applications of the cold wax reveal, distort, and shield history. Gestural brushwork demonstrates the fragmented way the past is recalled and suggests movement, activity, and spontaneity, implying that the story occurs now. The paintings are layered, parts are obscured and others appear as faint ghosts of color and line.

The Field of Green series, (2021- now) are paintings that are a departure in their seemingly monochromatic color and minimal approach. These post-pandemic ambiguous paintings create space, mystery, and a sense of emptiness and completion at the same time. Winbury's latest paintings are an amalgam of gestural painting and a more controlled and minimal style.