Icarus II - Flight Series
107 x 80 inches
acrylic, paper sewing patterns on canvas
The Flight Series
An extension of the Double Bind paintings, the Flight Series work continues to explore the use of store bought paper sewing patterns as a unorthodox painting material. These paintings exploit the graphic metaphor between the diagrammatic instructions of garment making and the engineered schematics of flying machines and ultimately the dichotomy between the gender stereotypes associated with sewing, hand stitchery and material fragility with those of flight, technological gain and mechanical strength.
By embellishing the garment patterns with custom text from contemporary feminist writing and criticism, Westmark creates a conceptual narrative alongside the existing material narrative of imprinted assembly instructions. This added textual narrative disrupts the nostalgic or stereotypical notion of “women’s work” and admits an aggressive feminist dialogue into the visual conversation. The viewer is asked to read both the text embedded surface and the image.
John Westmark’s work is exhibited widely and is held in numerous private and public collections including the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington DC; Weisman Art Foundation and Museum, Malibu, CA; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; and the Kansas City Art Institute. John’s work was selected for the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies program and he is the recipient of two Individual Florida Artist Grants. John is also a Pollock-Krasner grant recipient, was awarded The Gibbes Museum Factor Prize for Southern Art (Charleston, SC).
John received an MFA from the University of Florida and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. John currently lives and works in Gainesville, Florida.