Stephen Westfall: Jesus & Bossa Nova

Stephen Westfall, Scheherazade, 2013, oil and alkyd on canvas, 72 × 72 inches (c
Stephen Westfall, Scheherazade, 2013, oil and alkyd on canvas, 72 × 72 inches (courtesy of the artist and Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.)

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."