KHFA exhibition archives

Stories from Memory

Roger Winter
December 4-January 2, 2021
Main Gallery

During the three month lockdown in NYC from the pandemic, Roger Winter frequently thought of his Texas mentor/teacher Everett Spruce's adage about anxiety brought on by idleness in art: "If you can't paint eight hours a day, find something you can do eight hours a day."

Since Winter couldn't get to his studio, he decided to write one story each day, based on memory, and illustrated with a collage. "I have pencil, paper, glue, scissors and a printer in our apartment," Winter wrote at the time. "This occupies my mind and distracts me from worrying about family and friends getting Coronavirus. I'm happiest when I'm working and exploring via a medium." The isolation seemed to painlessly move Winter back into a subjective approach to his work.

Kirk Hopper Fine Art is pleased to present Stories from Memory, some 35 autobiographical narratives and collages that serve as metaphors for life's complexities of desire, defeat, utility and beauty. The lockdown only fueled Winter's perpetual movement forward with a propulsive, joyous energy that embraced something new and challenging at every turn. The structure of story and collage is a kind of layer cake of nested memories and family legends, becoming a rich, exotic confection.

For decades, Winter's art has explored the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves: our families, our country and the porous border between history and myth. Time, the ways it can accelerate through years, freeze in moments and defy measurement altogether, is Winter's chief preoccupation, his major theme and raw material.

For Winter, storytelling is a way to remake an unhappy reality and exert control—a tool for connecting the dots of a family's life and making sense of the past. At KHFA are oddly humorous stories and collages about his sisters Joyce and Oleta; his childhood bout with dust pneumonia; trips to the local ice house; chess games during WWII; apparitions, spirits, outlaw relatives and more. Winter weaves these tales together into narratives and collages that are charming, flawed and mysterious—a deliberate strategy meant to convey the chaos of life and distortions of memory and the bright threads that can be extracted, with imagination and will, from the mess.

At the center of Stories from Memory is the way events and places can mean different things at different stages of one's life. Throughout, Winter's art does not move in a simple arc from one destination or theme to another. It meanders between his interior life and his life in the world, connecting dreams, reflections and memories.

The lockdown tales and collages represent a legacy of endurance and an understanding of the magic powers of storytelling to provide both solace and transcendence.

Organized as a celebration of his life and career, Roger Winter: Stories from Memory and Roger Winter: The Construction Site Paintings also coincide with the major publication of:

The Art of Roger Winter: Fire and Ice
Susie Kalil, author
Texas A&M University Press
362 pages, 212 color, 44 archival photographs

Construction Site #6, 2018, oil on linen, 20" x 12"

Also at KHFA

Roger Winter: The Construction Site Paintings
December 4-January 2, 2021

Along with the exhibition Roger Winter: Stories from Memory, Kirk Hopper Fine Art is pleased to present a selection of works from the artist's recent "Construction Site" series.

More about this show »