Exploring the legacy of modernist abstraction, Windett’s still life compositions feature highly reduced yet familiar items: shapes reminiscent of everyday objects, plants, birds or animal horns recur at varying degrees of recognisability. The paintings are characterised by their intricately structured surface, where shiny black monochromatic fields are interspersed with rougher coloured areas. Sometimes, Windett places each brushstroke with painstaking accuracy to configure the paint into fine parallel lines, then again he applies it loosely to generate a grainy, matte finish. The use of alternating techniques within the same painting shows the artist’s interest in “the simplistic way that paint works”. His small-scale canvases survey the process of mark making, evoking both a sense of intense concentration and a playful energy.
Windett’s objects frequently reappear in more than one painting, each time slightly altered in shape, but recognisably related to one another. Originally, he referred to sketches and self-made cardboard marquettes; lately, he discarded these models, allowing his objects to move away from their original forms. A recurring set of abstract discs thus turns out to be based on a series of sunsets; another unrecognisable shape only identifies as a bird when compared with another painting. The habitual engagement with certain objects and the steady evolution of their form enables Windett to survey multiple facets of abstraction and figuration, and to apply or discard fragmented art historical references with each painting.
Sam Windett was born in 1977 in Kent and completed an MA in painting at the Royal College, London in 2004. He lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Billion Watt Bulb, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles (2010), and Bon Tracker, The Approach, London (2008). Groupshows include Owl stretching Time, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin (2010); Jerwood Contemporary Painters, Jerwood Space, London, touring to Leeds, Gloucestershire and Norwich (2009/2010) and Studio Voltaire presents, BolteLang, Zurich (2009). Besides being a fine artist, he also plays in bands and has released albums with Archie Bronson Outfit and The Pyramids.