“Westermann first came to my attention when I started graduate school in Iowa City, and his influence was immediate and deep. I was in the middle of a project of doing a painting a day, and I was introduced to him by David Dunlap – a professor in the painting program there, who also does daily images. Something about the urgency of H.C.’s subject matter, willingness to use a wide range of visual vocabulary and his generosity of thought opened my eyes to a range of freedom in art that opened doors in the way I saw my own work. Westermann had a fearless way of pulling imagery from all parts of visual culture – from toys, games and cartoons to more serious things like military symbolism, social concerns and art history – and all of it felt guided by a drive to describe psychological need. His resulting work often looked to me like a message from a secret society that I felt somehow keyed into.
“I can only hope that I still maintain some of his generosity of thought and urgency to record and share ideas in my ongoing daily drawing process. My more labored painting process no longer can claim the immediacy that H.C. helped to open up and inspire with his subject matter. However, part of H.C.’s wide range included intense labor and attention to detail and craftsmanship, which I like to think that I share in my approach to painting.
“Ultimately, it’s the fundamental animal need to express something about a deeper psychological meaning that I relate to in Westermann’s work. I remember the first time I saw some of his work in person at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2001, and it felt like it could have been made that year. Somehow, it felt so much more direct and honest than anything I’d seen before, not bogged down by overthinking or careful politics. His work feels to me like he was trying his best to put faces to the names of fear, love, longing, sadness, pain, loss, playfulness and humor and leave us all as generous a record as possible of his course of navigation through this world.”
This exhibition takes place at 548 West 22 Street; hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6p. For images, biography, and further information, please contact the gallery at email@example.com or call 212-246-5360, Tuesday-Saturday 10a-6p.