Charlotta Westergren displays a prodigious amount of talent and tenacity in her solo exhibition with Patrick Painter in Santa Monica. Westergren is a painter of remarkable touch and facility. Over the years her renderings of animals, flora, trees, oysters and fungi have coupled the precision of Dutch still life masters with the menace of a distinctly contemporary ennui. At Painter, Westergren splits her aesthetic investigation between five seductive paintings and a sprawling text/wall installation.
The paintings depict various animals-a swan in mid flight or a newborn lamb against a highly reflective surface of car paint on aluminum. The subject matter and the exquisite painterly execution lure you in only to occasionally repulse you. The still bloody umbilical cord dangles from the newborn lamb. It is a testament to the power of painting that such rapture and revulsion can be evoked by oil on canvas.
The wall installation is comprised of thousands of hand cut images pinned to the wall of flowers and vegetables all culled from the pages of Martha Stewart Living Magazines. The word “fucking” emerges from the negative space in a serif font of this tour de force of OCD effort. The choice of word is intriguing as it can be both adjective and verb, and adverb come to think of it. Contemplating the variants with the execution offers intellectual pleasures. Issues of scale once again delineate the dialogue (see scale as trap in Urs Fischer in a previous post.)
The Paintings and the Installation coexist more than they dialogue but neither distracts from the other. More remarkably neither seems to compete with the other as well. They are both winners.
-Mario M. Muller, April 9th, 2012, Los Angeles
Charlotta Westergren at Patrick Painter continues on view until May 5th, 2012.
also by Mario M. Muller
- Roy Dowell at Various Small Fires - October 14th, 2013
- Leon Benn at Carter & Citizen - September 13th, 2013
- Five Exhibitions to anticipate in the up coming season - September 4th, 2013
- California-Pacific Triennial at Orange County Museum of Art - July 12th, 2013
- Windshield Perspective at A+D Museum - June 28th, 2013