A word often used to describe Steven Westfall’s painting is “destabilization.” He often takes his understanding of various modernist tropes like the grid, the stripe, or the chevron and configures the shapes and colors to promote unsettling or slightly out of kilter effects. Westfall’s are jarring but visually exciting works. His curating, judging from his current effort at Acme, lives in the same world, drawn to painters known for their casual, rough and tumble, or at times jokey approach to abstraction and painting. The show feels fresh, as if it gave birth to most of the painting found in Chinatown or Culver City. You might want to study this group of artists.
Included in the show are Mary Weatherford, Chris Martin, Rebecca Morris, Amy Sillman, and the great Mary Heilmann, whose pervasive influence and consistently inventive and fun works are only now receiving their due. Walking around Acme, You move from the stained caves of Weatherford into the vortex of a Westfall circuit, Heilman’s washes or the wild collaged surfaces of Martin. Morris comes across as just as weird as ever, strange shapes and bric-a-brac squiggles and lines accumulating like single celled organisms in a petrie dish.
(Images from top to bottom: Chris Martin, Loud Conversation in a Chinese Restaurant, 2006, oil and collage on canvas; Mary Weatherford, where three roads meet, 2009, Flashe and starfish on linen; Installation view.)