Gilman Contemporary is excited to exhibit John Westmark's unique paintings. Using paper-sewing-patterns and paint he creates figures of women who exemplify strength and courage. The sewing patterns used are reinterpreted from their usual function to present the female figure either as an agent of revolt in the form of resolute warriors or within the controlled setting of the formal societal portrait.
John Westmark: Folklore Series Statement
As a product of the American South, and its rich tradition of storytelling as a vehicle to impart a moral
lesson or historical reminder, I am interested in the role of stories and folklore in modern life. As adults,
do we carry a dormant nostalgia for the fantastical tales from our youth? Or is technological acceleration
that permeates every facet of our lives eroding the quaint notions of the storytime rituals woven
through our childhood?
The Folklore Series references stories from a broad spectrum of humanity, and translates them into a
visual narrative structure guided by the instructional language of the store-bought sewing pattern.
Domestic garment making is often looked upon as an intimate affair passed from one generation to
the next, but once the pattern is used, it is tucked away or discarded. These paintings repurpose the
garment pattern and its nostalgic aura into a storytelling template.