Lennon, Weinberg is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Stephen Westfall (b. 1953), our fifth in ten years. Over the course of this decade, Westfall’s intuitive approach to structure has propelled his paintings well beyond the subtly unstable grids that defined his work in the 1990s. He has allowed the work to incorporate allusions to architecture and landscape by disassembling that grid and complicating its position in the space of his paintings.
The evolution of Westfall’s work during this decade has been dramatic and a new format makes a striking appearance in this exhibition – a large work painted directly on the wall. Last year he created two monumental wall paintings for the Virginia Commonwealth University Solvent Space in Richmond, Virginia. Reviewing the murals in Art Papers, Paul Ryan wrote: Westfall’s work exemplifies a demanding attachment to minimalism’s severe geometry, a critical engagement with the history of painting, a light-heartedness and, at times, a mischievous opticality that make him a smart and skillful practitioner of post-historical painting. His ability to simultaneously embrace and escape formalism is uncanny.
Ten oil paintings demonstrate the range of Westfall’s current work. Chevrons, triangles, concentric squares and bands of color are introduced, restated and rearranged. The sharp, bold, and bright palette is non-naturalistic yet open to descriptive interpretation. Westfall’s eye is constantly alert to real-world stimuli and its capacity to invigorate his work.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of selected paintings from 2000 to 2008 with an essay by painter Amy Sillman. Westfall is a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Nancy Graves Foundation Grant. Westfall is on the faculty at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard University.