Westfall, Zox, Wixted, Gallagher

Installation view: Stephen Westfall at Lennon Weinberg. The work on the far wall is painted directly onto the wall

I’m mixing all kinds of geometry here. The hard edge is the uniting factor in the work of Stephen Westfall at Lennon Weinberg, Kevin Wixted at Lohin Geduld, and a wonderful small painting by a master of hard-edge abstraction, Larry Zox, at Stephen Haller. And then there’s a circular element in Wixted’s work that moves us effortlessly into the to the other-worldly stripes of Chris Gallagher at McKenzie Fine Art.

Another installation view: Stephen Westfall at Lennon Weinberg

Westfall’s work, including a marvelous composition painted onto the far back wall, contains resonant references to quilts and textiles. Most of the works are concentric diamonds or squares within a square format, so that angularity is the predominant element in each work. The compositions are “pieced” together from stripes or triangles. My favorite is a four-tiered square in which pennant-like triangles, limned in a contrasting or complementary color, create an elegantly kinetic formalism, completely beautiful to my eye—but then, dum, dum, dum, dum, a shark-like menace asserts itself. Beauty with bite. The show is up through December 20.

Stephen Westfall, no info available on the gallery website, but the work appears to be oil on canvas, about 48 x48 inches

Zox, whose work softened with looping gestures and prettier colors toward the end of his career, is represented at Stephen Haller with an earlier, small work of serape-like stripes. Into this composition he placed an acute angle along each edge so that the entire composition loses its absolute rectangularity and appears to be set slightly askew.

Larry Zox at Stephen Haller. Beach, 1964, acrylic on ragboard, 16 x 19 inches


Wixted hasn’t given up his architectural references, but fluid elements in his geometry suggest a botanical reference—bushes or trees—and some feature intersected circles. In the "botanical" group, I particularly like Flowering Tree-Yucutan, in which a fluid mass of triangles, barely contained within its perimeter, balances precariously on the points of two triangles. Visually, the whole composition threatens to fall apart before your eyes. It doesn't of course, but the tension is exquisite.

In the latter group, circles of different diameters appear strung like beads on a flat coral ground. The placement of the intersection within the circles is different in each one, so they appear to be spinning, some pushing up against the picture plane while others recede into the distance. It’s playful and kind of cosmic.

Kevin Wixted at Lohin Geduld (now down). On the facing wall, above: Flowering Tree-Yucutan, 2008, oil on linen, 44 x 60 inches

Below: no information available on the gallery website, but the painting is about 18 x 28 inches

For the truly cosmic, you won’t do better than the prismatic paintings of Chris Gallagher, which seem less like paintings than windows or portholes into a vast and hyper-chromatic universe. Differences in vastness are suggested by stripes with a greater or lesser degree of curve. The edges of the stripes themselves have a bit of a bleed, but they hint at a much more immense geometry. And those tondos are neat slices of shape on their own. The show is down, but the gallery website offers a page of all the works, which can be clicked and shown larger.

Chris Gallagher at McKenzie Fine Art: Tondo 16-08, 2008, oil on canvas, 48 inches in diameter; Detail 12-08, 2008, oil on canvas, 64 x 48 inches


1 comment:

Donna Thomas said...

Ooohhhh...I love this stuff!