Totems by Michael Winger
In late 2006 artist Michael Winger began creating site-specific installations on the banks of the Anacostia River near Silver Spring, Maryland. Incorporating nearby rocks and boulders Michael transforms the environment’s natural resources into magnificent “alters to nature” also known as Totems. Once formed the sculptures are subject to the environment, often lasting only a few days while others works flourish in their spaces attracting unknown collaborators. Inspired by the artist’s practice of Zen Buddhism, the sculpture’s ephemeralness reflects their transitory existence emphasizing, “It’s the creation that’s important”.
Michael Winger was born of American parents in Belem, Brazil and then moved with his parents to a cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1964. In 1980 Michael got an apprenticeship with Sy Gresser at Mt. Rushmore where he began carving stone. Following a bout with throat cancer in 2000, Michael moved to Silver Springs, Maryland where he went back to school for an MFA in art education/therapy at George Washington University in D.C. Currently he teaches art to emotionally at risk students in Maryland. His sculptures have appeared at Mt. Rushmore, the National Jewish Museum, the Artists’ Museum and the Millennium Center in D.C., The AAF Contemporary Art and Bridge Art Fairs in NYC and London, and Miami. His paintings and sculptures are in both private and public collections through out the United States and one large sculpture is on permanent display at the national stone organization’s headquarters.