Barbara Westermann applies the language of minimalism, using elemental abstract shapes, but at the same time going beyond the minimal with an eye and ear to feminism, musical instrumentation, and Social Democratic politics. This work informs a historical, social narrative using a metaphoric, three-dimensional vocabulary. She reveres the purity of form which goes back to medieval sciences, alchemy, and magic.
Westermann exhibits widely, including one-woman exhibitions at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in California, the Freiburg Contemporary Art Museum in Germany, Clay Street Momenta Art galleries in New York. Group exhibitions include the current Multiple Strategies exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, FL, the Holly Solomon and Ronald Feldman galleries, PS1, Dia Art, and the Whitney Beiennial in New York, as well as the Newport and Bristol Art Museums, the URI and Lenore Gray galleries in Rhode Island. She has just installed a piece in the Progressive Art Collection in Cleveland, OH, and is working on a piece for Borderlands in Berlin, Germany.
She has received awards from Art Matters, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Utica Sculpture Space as well as a RISCA Fellowship in Sculpture. Her work can be seen at www.barbarawestermann.com
William Allen is a poet and word artist living in Providence, RI. In his new work, he continues his homegrown counterbalance of American folk art with ideas from the world of digital hypertext. In the tradition fo the Encyclopedists, his word-constructions work to make startling or strange connections. Their hand-painted quality insists on intimacy in a world of mass-marketed, electronic communication and advertising. And inheritor of the Dada, Concrete Poetry, and Fluxus traditions, he works with a bright, hardware-store palette, to inject optimism, light, and humor into a world of serious, Romantic, scientific and literary ideas.
Taxonomies consists of four new series of paintings, inspired by Carolus Linnaeus (the Swede who created a taxonomy for all living things) and the historical project of scientifc nomenclature, including "Undersea Features," "20,000 Leagues under the Sea," "Seven Deadly Sins," and "Trees." In each case, the poet's love of language and naming works to create an anti-narrative that's driven by the given names of things. In Allen's juxtapositions, words take on lives (and stories) of their own. The goal is to borrow poetry from the poets and display it visually, to ordinary people, away from the musty world of books (which Allen loves) - somewhere alongside electronica, yet determinedly set apart.
Allen exhibits widely, including one-man exhibitions at the Clay Street Press Gallery in Cincinnati, OH and Momenta Art in Williamsburg. Group exhibitions include the current Multiple Strategies exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Williams college, P.S. 1, the Whitney Biennial, and the Committed to Print show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Allen collaborates frequently with his wife, the activist sculptor Barbara Westermann, including numerous editions with Mart Patsfall Graphics. He has received awards from Art Matters, the D.A.A.D, Breadloaf Writers Conference, and the Yaddo Corporation. His work can be seen at www.ekphrases.com