Stephen Westfall | Jig – Diamond Life – Codex


    Stephen Westfall has collaborated with Durham Press on three projects - Jig, Diamond Life, and Codex - which further explore the interplay between color and structure by abstracting the classic grid format, a practice Westfall has become known for. Westfall relates his interest in the grid to his introduction to artists such as Agnes Martin and Matisse. Through Martin and Mondrian, Westfall discovered the possibilities of building a composition with vertical and horizontal lines, though he quickly found that his work could not be contained in a purely grid-like format. Westfall attributes this to his "mixed dominance" - using different hands for different tasks instead of relying on a single side, thinking and acting with a level of balanced asymmetry. Instead of creating a composition solely through structure, Westfall finds his mode of abstraction in a new way: color. As he sees in Matisses' painting The Red Studio, color can be liberated from shape, a concept furthered by artists such as Rothko who allows color to become the entire figure. Color as form continues to play a large role in Westfall's practice, allowing him to exist in while simultaneously break free from the grid format.

  • Jig, Westfall's first collaboration with Durham Press, features a series of imperfect, disjointed grids. Order and structure become fragmented as...

    Stephen Westfall | Jig


    Jig, Westfall's first collaboration with Durham Press, features a series of imperfect, disjointed grids. Order and structure become fragmented as the composition is thrown off kilter by lines which do not follow straight across the print. Each vertical and horizontal is interrupted, some distinctly and some subtly, abstracting the classic grid format to make it twist and turn.


    Though not a typical grid, Diamond Life is similarly built by experimenting with structure. The edition draws from his earlier painting Holbrook which is strongly linked to the cultures he was exposed to in Santa Fe, New Mexico, particularly the Navajo and Pueblo Nations. The print's structureis influenced by Pueblo pottery, while its color and motif from Navajo blankets - both of which Westfall collects. The rich vibrancy of these blankets that both dominates and highlights their geometric forms is reflected in Diamond Life: its delicate paper saturated with screenprint inks, pulling its reds and yellows to the forefront. Just as in Westfall's larger practice, color becomes a powerful tool in abstracting these repeated, modular forms to create a composition where order and disarray both work with and disrupt each other.


    Westfalls' most recent collaboration with Durham Press, Codex, is a series of six prints which pull their imagery from patterns seen in architecture. The series employs the same methods as Jig of throwing off what at first appear to be crisp, straight horizontals and verticals by slightly shifting each line. Though imperfect, each print maintains a level of balanced asymmetry, built but not defined by Westfall's characteristic grid.


  •  CODEX