S T E P H E N   W E S T F A L L

"I think a lot about the relationship between painting and architecture. I would like my paintings to be regarded as expressions of energy and place. When I was an adolescent, I was fascinated by the social spaces adjudicated by architecture. At the age of twelve I was bringing home books about Louis Kahn, Corbusier and Luis Barragan, architects who carved up space with colored walls. Barragan was more polychromatic, but even white was a color for Corbusier, who also added color to his interior walls in his chapel masterpiece, Notre Dame de Haut. As a student, I loved 60s American abstract painting because it seemed to address interior space with the same forthrightness that the architects I admired addressed exterior space. In my work, color as area became something to pay close attention to. To deal with the structuring role of color, I studied Matisse, Mondrian, and Albers. Matisse was perhaps the most absorbing, which is why I don’t paint like him. But he is somebody I think about a lot, in the way that I guess Ellsworth Kelly thinks about Matisse and doesn’t paint like him, either. It’s there in the work if you can imagine Matisse doing hard edge painting - something that he wouldn’t have done - but the thing about historical distance is that you can do a mash-up like that. Over the course of the last decade, I wanted my work to address architecture more directly and wall paintings seemed a way to fuse paintings to architectural scale. I regard the wall paintings now as being as essential to my artistic practice as my paintings on canvas and paper, which are bound by more conventional notions of portability and transferability."  

Bio

Stephen Westfall in Perspective: A 15-Year Survey, 2002 - 20015