Dan Greenberg reviews Freak Flag, curated by Kim Uchiyama, at Brian Morris Midtown, New York (through December 13). The show features works by Al Loving, Ann Shostrom, Craig Fisher, Gwenn Thomas, James Clark, Kim Uchiyama, Marthe Keller, Noah Post, Stephen Westfall, Paul Corio, and Andy Mister.
Greenberg writes: "According to Morris, Al Loving embodies the collective theme of the exhibit. His two wall reliefs assuredly burst with primary colors birthing secondary colors, and mixing ellipses with the hard angles of triangles. Loving’s radical departure from his previous, highly successful body of work emphasizes his lifelong dedication to change and following his true artistic impulses... There is no fear here; these works are merged into the old city walls, integrating art and life. These works conspicuously lack pretension and invite discourse."
John Yau reviews the recent exhibition Stephen Westfall: Jesus and Bossa Nova at Lennon, Weinberg, New York.
Yau writes that "Westfall — who is an eloquent champion of hard-edge, geometric abstraction and Precisionism, and less-celebrated artists such as Ward Jackson and Ralston Crawford — first gained attention for his use of skewed and layered grids that form a lattice. However, instead of settling in and refining this possibility into a signature style, he has proved himself to be a probative painter who keeps testing possibilities, pushing against the historical conventions we associate with hard-edge geometric abstraction, as if it could be opened onto new horizons." Yau continues, noting that in Westfall's best paintings he moves toward a "complicated and visually engaging possibility, from a stable image to an image that is simultaneously stable and unstable — a composition that sustains and complicates the “flickers back and forth between whole and fragment.'"
Robert Berlind reviews the exhibition Stephen Westfall: Jesus and Bossa Nova at Lennon, Weinberg, New York, on view through December 28, 2013.
Berlind writes that Westfall's "various designs may call up Islamic or Italian tile work, Native American weaving, Tantric art, graphic signage, or architectural façades. His precision of execution is in the service of a wide range of cultural references and metaphors... the many variations suggest that Westfall is responding to a wide range of imagery, information, art historical awareness, and, of course, personal impulses. Such associations are not a matter of appropriation but rather, of working within a greatly expanded contemporary visual and semiotic frame of reference. If one of his goals is immediacy of impact, another is a subsequent richness of contemplative experience that motivated spiritualists such as Mondrian and Malevich, and the creators of Eastern mandalas. The work moves between a meditative orientation and everyday, vernacular readings. Westfall’s paintings, while rigorous in visual concept and exacting execution, are idiosyncratically allusive and expressive. His invention and execution of new work within a field of apparent contradictions is a masterful balancing act."
Vincent Romaniello photoblogs the exhibition Flight from Nature: The Abstract as Ideal at the National Arts Club, New York, on view through May 31, 2013.
The show features work by Andrea Belag, Paul D'Agostino, Danielle Dimston, Stephen Ellis, Molly Herman, David Hixon, Nicolas Holiber, Catherine Howe, Bill Jensen, Margrit Lewczuk, Riad Miah, John Newman, Fran O'Neill, Jamie Powell, Ben Pritchard, Bill Scott, Stephen Westfall, Karen Wisniewska, and John Zinsser.
Mario Naves posts his catalogue essay for the exhibition Wit, curated by Joanne Freeman, at The Painting Center, New York through February 23, 2013. The exhibition features works by Marina Adams, Polly Apfelbaum, Joanne Freeman, Joe Fyfe, Barbara Gallucci, Phillis Ideal, Jonathan Lasker, Sarah Lutz, Doreen McCarthy, Mario Naves, Thomas Nozkowski, Paul Pagk, Ruth Root, Fran Shalom, and Stephen Westfall.
Naves writes: "Eschewing the purity that was once abstraction’s sine qua non, the artists featured in Wit opt for an almost promiscuous inclusivity. No inspiration is suspect. High-flown ambitions–sure, we got ‘em; historical cognizance, too. But these artists are also characterized by a willingness to embrace a veritable laundry list of references: nature, narrative, comics, design, technology, science, representation and, not least, humor. Not that humor has been entirely absent from the history of abstract art: Malevich pranked Mona Lisa five years before Duchamp and Mondrian paid winning homage, in oil and canvas, to his beloved boogie-woogie music. Still, abstraction nowadays is more and more a repository of quirks, tics and pictorial double entendres, having as much in common with Buster Keaton, say, as Neo-Plasticism."
Kalm notes that this is "a prime group of painters dealing with the contemporary challenges of formalist abstraction. This walking tour includes views of works by: Andrea Belag, Shirley Jaffe, Alix Le Méléder, Sylvan Lionni, Julia Rommel, Patricia Treib, Stephen Westfall, Stanley Whitney."
David Cohen writes about painter Stephen Westfall's work and its influence on his recent curatorial efforts.
Cohen notes "At first [Westfall's] compositions strike the viewer as well-behaved structures of pattern with decorative correlates in the applied arts... But his visual wit goes beyond mere reference to recent abstract art history. A key element in his vocabulary is the disruptive kink he will admit into his patterning that sets it off kilter; never quite subverting the flatness of the picture plane, he nonetheless allows a breeze or ripple to run across the composition."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.