(scroll to last para for art-writing bio-info)


Booming shouting voices shake the walls as drunken parents quarrel, so its time to go outside and play again; the artist as a child takes to the bicycle and city alleys for the freedom of self-directedness in picking one’s own way. Built-up scum on the lip of a dumpster, rebar stubs’ rust stains trailing brown down crumbling concrete walls, multi-layered paint peelings dusted with soot, spraypaint stencil-tags left by artist-protestors: moving at the pace of a child on a bike they are noticed at a troubled time. The act of observation is soothing. Solace in surface: the more complex (often through effect of weathering or of destructive forces), the more interesting ---and so more appealing to observe, and so the more soothing. Peace through grunge.

A fat and awkward schooltyke with few friends and no clue of social interplay naturally gravitated to autonomous artful activity: Lego block building, constructing cardboard toys, erecting debris-towers and rubble “forts,” sculpting snow or sand or cobbles or ice. Satisfaction through manipulation of shapes and space.

Professors and the thesis and museum visits and later advice from bigwigs (and from the wigless) had their influence ---but all atop a foundation of lifelong interest in texture and in the play of space .

In 1990, Ward created “MegaCollage”: artwork defying the usual page-sized scale of collage by making cut-out billboard shapes into wall-sized creations. Since the mid-2000’s, Ward dabbled in film-acting and appeared in several Hollywood productions; the selective Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB.com) lists Ward as “Terry Ward (VII)”. Sometimes the “theatrical” crosses over into the art ---as in 2010 when Ward “as a conceptual performance art piece” briefly ran for lieutenant governor of Illinois. In 2007, Ward created “OmniDirectional” paintings ---composed and wired to be hung at any angle. Ward’s current paintings are almost exclusively in the OmniDirectional style, which ( by sometimes sweeping across entire walls or even cascading onto floors) can bridge the area between painting and installation-art.

The artist lived in many cities. Ward paints outdoors during warm weather at one of the “outposts” (sometimes-covert outdoor painting sites) in Brooklyn and in Virginia. Terry Ward paintings are in the collections of two Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Jimmy Carter and Al Gore. Several Wards are in the collection of Harry Kulkowitz, past co-curator of the old Kenmore Gallery in Philadelphia (a key early booster of Ansel Adams and of Claes Oldenburg). After years of engaging privately with potential art-owners and generally avoiding exhibits, Ward in 2010-11 began seeking gallery relationships. Recent exhibit highlights include: ongoing exhibit in The Carter Center permanent collection; inclusion in a group show at a Smithsonian-affiliated gallery; inclusion in a group show in New York City’s Sloan Fine Art.

Ward is also an art-writer with two recent cover stories in magazine “In The Art World” a.k.a. “M” and numerous non-cover publications in the noted hardcopy periodical. (Ken Johnson of The New York Times has said “In The Art World” is “the most comprehensive and thorough guide to New York's art world and galleries I have ever come across…. all you'll ever need if you are interested in discovering great art in New York.") Ward also was hired to compile and edit a book for perhaps the nation’s most famous living art critic, Jerry Saltz. Ward is a regular contributor to the ongoing art debates on Saltz’ famously-large FaceBook page. Ward’s own art-blog, GrumpyVisualArtist.BlogSpot.com has around 1000 new views each month. As an active artist, past art teacher, college art history minor, and ongoing Art World explorer, Ward brings original insights to art-writing.