Artists » John Winship

John Winship 2017John Winship’s paintings are like anthropological dioramas. Not unlike social documentary photography, the work observes and depicts people engaged in day to day activities. Perhaps these moments were easy to take for granted, but later in life the images likely become powerfully evocative.

The work is easy to relate to, even if Winship’s chosen focus of the 1950’s may seem temporally distant. There is an enveloping quiet beauty about the work that pulls you to it and an almost uncanny familiarity that seems to endure; however, the work is far less straightforward and obvious than it appears. The level of complexity depends on the viewer’s willingness to ask questions.

“My paintings are based on old snapshots. Over time, I’ve grappled with most of the subjects that a painter with a bent for description will take on: landscapes, still lifes, portraits. But I feel that I elicit an emotional dimension from the snapshots that I don’t attain from other subjects.

My paintings have been described as “deconstructed nostalgia”. I think that when we contemplate the moments of happiness or solemnity recorded in snapshots we have an emotionally complicated awareness of how irrevocably distant and how fragile those moments are: that complicated awareness is what I’m trying to paint; I’m trying to capture the deeper psychological currents behind the innocent surface images of the photographs.

The atmosphere in my paintings is thick, the tonality dark, the edges and contours not always sharply defined, the faces often blurred or in shadow. These effects arise out of specific techniques, but are also attempts to break down the specificity of the photograph’s subject matter and allow the viewer to project more freely into the painting. The layers and veils of the painted surfaces are the equivalent of the distance between the viewer and the subjects of the old photographs.”

John Winship has had over thirty solo shows in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and other galleries and museums throughout the northeast.  His paintings have been featured and reviewed in such national publications as “Art in America”, “Artnews”, “The Artist’s Magazine”, “Harper’s”, and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”, as well as on numerous book covers.

“John Winship is a painter of dark and evocative scenes; dreamlike, mysterious pictures of people who seem to be from another time.”

—Linda Wertheimer, NPR, “All Things Considered

Solo Exhibitions

2016  Carver Hill Gallery, Rockland, Maine

2010 • Endicott College Center for the Arts; Beverly, Massachusetts

2010, 2005 • Majestic Performing Arts Center; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

2008 • F.A.N. Gallery; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2000, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993, 1992 • Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery; New York, New York

1997, 1992, 1981 • Arts Exclusive Gallery; Simsbury, Connecticut

1996 • O’Farrell Gallery; Brunswick, Maine

1989, 1987 • Capricorn Gallery; Bethesda, Maryland

1988, 1982 • Gettysburg College; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

2003, 1987, 1983 • Gallery 30; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

1985 • Western Maryland College; Westminster, Maryland

1984 • College of Wooster; Wooster, Ohio • Gallery Doshi; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

1983 • Source Theater Gallery; Washington, D.C. • Noel Butcher Gallery; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1982 • Pratt Gallery; Amherst, Massachusetts

1980 • Washington County Museum of Fine Arts; Hagerstown, Maryland

1980, 1977 • Venable-Neslage Galleries; Washington, D.C.

1978 • Cora Miller Gallery, York College; York, Pennsylvania

1976 • Pennsylvania State University; State College, Pennsylvania

1975 • Shippensburg State College; Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Articles, Reviews, Publications

The Georgia Review, Summer 2013 (Cover & 8 Reproductions)

Mangravite, Andrew, Broad Street Review, December 16, 2008 (Review & Reproduction)

Schipp, Margot, Laws of My Nature: Poems, Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2005 (Cover)

Keith, Sally, Dwelling Song, University of Georgia Press, 2004 (Cover)

Great World Writers: Twentieth Century, Marshall Cavendish Education Publishers, 2003 (Reproduction, Vol. 2)

Martin, Janet M., The American Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance and Illusion, Texas A&M University Press, 2003 (Cover)

Great American Writers: Twentieth Century, Marshall Cavendish Education Publishers, 2002 (Reproduction, Vol. 9)

Arts & Antiques, September 2000 (Review & Reproduction)

Henry, Gerrit, Art in America, May 1999 (Review & Reproduction)

National Public Radio, All Things Considered, Interview with Linda Wertheimer, October 29, 1998 (click to listen)

The Gettysburg Review, Vol. 11, No. 1. Spring 1998 (Cover & 9 Reproductions)

Stitt, Peter, Uncertainty and Plenitude, University of Iowa Press, 1997 (Cover)

Harper’s Magazine, October 1996, “Readings” Section (Reproduction)

Isaacson, Philip, Maine Sunday Telegram July 14, 1996 (Review & Reproduction)

Spires, Elizabeth Worldling (Poems), W. W. Norton & Co., 1995 (Cover)

Winship, John, “Creating a Painting,” Gettysburg (Alumni Magazine), Autumn 1995 (Essay & Cover)

Spindler, Amy, The New York Review of Art, February 1994 (Review)

Winship, John, “Painting Distant Memories,” The Artist’s Magazine, February 1994 (Article & Reproduction)

Henry, Gerrit, ARTnews, December 1992 (Review & Reproduction)

Cavanaugh, Tim, Manhattan Spirit, September 1992 (Review & Reproduction)

Mendelson, John, Cover, September 1992 (Review & Reproduction)

Sipkoff, Martin, York (Pennsylvania) Sunday News, October 1, 1989 (Article & 2 Reproductions)

The Gettysburg Review,
Vol. 1, No. 1. Winter 1988 (Cover & 9 Reproductions)

Margolies, Linda, “Around the Art World,” Farmington Valley (Connecticut) Herald, March 5, 1981 (Review)

Lane, William, Moonlight Standing in as Cordelia, Hanging Loose Press, New York, 1980 (Cover & 2 Reproductions)


B.A. (Fine Arts), Middlebury College; Middlebury, Vermont (1971)

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