Volume 96, Issue 1

Thursday, May 23, 2002
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Jack Winn brings cosmic flare For the Art of It

Satanic Surfers rock the world

This summer London theatre heats up

Hey, Jesus is back

Musings from the indie road

Jack Winn brings cosmic flare For the Art of It

By Brian Wong
Gazette Staff


Jack Winn
For the Art of It

629 Richmond Street

Whenever Star Wars grips a country, countless critics will suggest you spend your time and money elsewhere. Here is one more critic with another suggestion.

Although London artist – and ex-Western music professor – Jack Winn has nothing to do with Jedi knights, he sure loves stars. Thankfully, they're the kind of stars that sparkle in the sky and not the kind that sparkle in Versace dresses.

Brian Wong/Gazette
STARRY, STARRY NIGHT. Jack Winn's work is on display at For the Art of It at 629 Richmond Street until Jun. 1.

Drawing inspiration from the cosmic heavens, eight pieces by Winn are on display and for sale at the For the Art of It show. These works bring the beauty and mystery of intergalactic bodies to the viewer and in turn, send the viewer back into that unknown, yet inviting space.

This is best exemplified by two of the largest oil paintings in this collection. In "Spiral Galaxy," an off-centered point becomes the source of a great twisting gray and gold spiral which has the effect of leaping off the wall – uncontained by the borders of the canvas.

In a similar second painting simply titled "Cosmos #6," the movement changes direction and draws the viewer inward towards a different off-centered point. The sense of being sucked into this colourful and psychedelic space is even greater when viewed up close, allowing the piece to occupy one's entire field of vision.

These works contain a mixture of paints which give the surface of the canvas a great range of texture. While previous Winn works have achieved their thick texture from heavy slabs of paint being applied to the canvas, some of Winn's more recent pieces introduce a smooth and glossy sheen into the mix.

Combined with the rich detail created by the paint combinations, giving the astral bodies a marble-like surface, viewers become a part of the chemical reactions inherent in the paintings. Given Winn's background in music, the cascade of textures and colours are almost symphonic – bubbling and exploding in crashing volume.

Yet, Winn doesn't completely forget his post-impressionist roots. The simple "Stars Over Lake Huron" has echoes of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" except there's a stillness in Winn's piece. The stars are a bit more controlled and prefer to emit a cool, frosty glow.

Along with "Cosmos #1," "Merkabah" and the abstract "A Black Hole Yawned Beneath," these six oils occupy the entire south wall of the gallery and are accompanied by two other pieces.

The strange "Atkins Scribble" sits on an easel on the floor and contains what appears to be the artist's signature written in a glossy red paint resembling ketchup.

While being the alien of these works – a fact brought out by the richly carved framing that distinguishes it from the rest of the pieces – another other-worldly creation rests on a pedestal in the center of the gallery.

This is the UFO sculpture "Vesica Piscus" made entirely of metal and painted in the delicious gold colour that appears in some of the paintings. The sleek and slim design of the disc-shaped object is suitable for any modern decor (a few hundred dollars and it's yours) and has a delicate lightness to it. One would almost expect the piece to take flight from the pedestal on which it stands.

While some pieces are ordinary, some are just out of this world. If you want to see the works of a man whose universe includes Jar Jar Binks, go see Star Wars, but if you want something that actually involves the audience, these works by Winn make a fine astral alternative.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002