Two new artists break open their exhibits at UMass museum

‘Facts and Fiction’ and ‘Counterclockwise’ both drew in a strong crowd


Alvin Buyinza/Daily Collegian

By Alvin Buyinza, Collegian Staff

The University of Massachusetts Museum of Art got a full house today, as American artists Xylor Jane and Terry Winters came to visit, showcasing and commentating on their most recent art exhibits – “Facts and Fiction” and “Counterclockwise.”

Jane’s work is characterized by intensely colorful paintings of small geometric shapes connecting together to form beautiful repeating patterns. A staple of her work is the focus on mathematics. Several paintings include features of the Fibonacci sequence and references to prime numbers.

One work, a rainbow-colored painting with long lines of numbers running up and down the canvas called “13, 831” counted as “days alive,” according to the artist.

“It goes pretty deep in for the years here, about 22 years,” she continued.

But the most “crazy” thing about this painting, Jane said, is the revelation she had as she was curating the event. According to the 56-year-old artist, she has been living for 2,129 days, also a prime number, meaning that the number 2,129 appears in her painting in a small corner on the left.

Other works of Jane’s include “Election Party,” which features several geometric hearts running horizontally, vertically and diagonally on a brown-green canvas. Jane said she began the piece on Nov. 9, 2016 as a response to the way her community had been afflicted by the current state of politics.

“This is my 10th of 11 heart paintings,” she said. “I’ve made another one recently and my community was distraught, so I got through that time by making this heart painting and spreading the love. And I think if we can all make decisions with choices with love in mind, love in the heart, it’s a good place to start.”

At the end of Jane’s curation, excited fans went up to ask questions and shake the artist’s hand.

“How long have you known that today’s date is in the painting?” asked Phil Grauer, an Amherst resident while pointing back to the painting “13, 831.”

A small smile grew on Jane’s face.

“Oh, I found that out in my studio, prepping for this talk,” she said. A few giggles burst from the crowd.

Later a panel was held featuring Winters, Claire Gilman, the curator of the “Facts and Fiction” exhibition, and Karen Kurczynski, UMass art history assistant professor.

The panel focused on the works of Winters, namely his current exhibition which features several expressive thick black drawings of various objects.

Winters began drawing when he was only a child but to him, drawing was about the expression of complex ideas he had.

“Everyone starts with drawing, and like painters, I just never stopped drawing. And drawing is sort of specifically narrating the way you are working,” Winters said.

He continued, “[Drawing] is a very immediate extension of the motion of our body, the information we are exposed to now is digitalized and incorrect in some sense.”

To Winters, drawing is a way to reinvigorate that sense of art belonging back to the human body.

Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @abuyinza_news.