August 23, 2006 - The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (Spalding House) - H. C. Westermann
August 23, 2006

H. C. Westermann

H. C. Westermann, Battle of Little Big Horn, 1959, oil on panel, 15 x 15 inches. Collection of Ann Janss, Los Angeles, CA, © The Estate of H. C. Westermann/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Dreaming of a Speech Without Words:
The Paintings and Early Objects of H. C. Westermann

August 25-November 19, 2006

The Contemporary Museum
2411 Makiki Heights Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822

www.tcmhi.org

Dreaming of a Speech Without Words: The Paintings and Early Objects of H. C. Westermann is the first exhibition of paintings by of H. C. Westermann (1922 – 1981) since before the artist gained critical attention in the late 1950s. The only other public exhibit of Westermanns early paintings was staged in 1954 at the now defunct Mandel Brothers department store, formerly on State Street in Chicago. Dreaming of a Speech Without Words also includes early painted objects, sculptures, and drawings, many of which have never been shown publicly. Through a dialogue between and among these early works, the exhibition attempts to shed light on Westermanns nascent enthusiasm for painting in the beginning of the 1950s and the implications this had for his development as an artist best known at the end of the decade for his finely crafted wooden sculptures. Raised in Hollywood, California, Westermann served as a gunner aboard the USS Enterprise in World War II and as a combat infantryman in the Korean War. Between the wars, he studied art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a school first suggested to him by a shipmate aboard the Enterprise. After World War II, Westermann studied vocational arts commercial and industrial design and drafting but changed his course of study to fine art after returning from Korea. In a 1954 letter to his sister Martha, Westermann confided that he had something to say and over time that something had a great deal to do with the traumatic experiences he had survived in both wars. Works in the exhibition reveal the artists self exploration and rapid artistic development against the backdrop of late modernism in the United States.
Dreaming of a Speech Without Words: the Paintings and Early Objects of H. C. Westermann will travel to the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ (February 10 May 27, 2007), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (June 30 October 21, 2007) and the Iris & Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford , Stanford, CA (November 21, 2007 March 2, 2008), and is accompanied by a full-color catalog with essays by Michael Rooks, Dennis Adrian, and David McCarthy and postscript by Mark Booth, Aaron Curry, Chris Johanson, Ryan Johnson, John Tanji Koga, Jason Meadows, Jim Nutt, Erik Parker, Ruth Root, and Ed Ruscha.
Dreaming of a Speech Without Words: The Paintings and Early Objects of H. C. Westermann was organized by The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and curated by Michael Rooks. Its presentation was made possible through the generous support of Mary and Roy Cullen, Ruth P. Horwich, and Sharon and Thurston Twigg-Smith. In-kind support has been provided by ResortQuest Hawaii, formerly Aston Hotels and Resorts and Horizon Lines, LLC.

This exhibition is dedicated to Walter Hopps.

Untitled (for H. C. Westermann)
Mark Booth, Aaron Curry, Chris Johanson, Ryan Johnson, John Tanji Koga, Jason Meadows, Jim Nutt, Erik Parker, Ruth Root, and Ed Ruscha

If there is a special language that artists share, then H. C. Westermann spoke a rare unexpurgated dialect of it. Few artists come to mind who have engendered as much passionate enthusiasm among their peers, and over the span of several generations. Even Westermanns absence these past two decades has not curtailed his popularity among young artists first acquainted with his work through word-of-mouth from colleagues and peers in museums, galleries and graduate schools. The exhibition catalog for Dreaming of a Speech Without Words bears a postscript of writings by artists spanning generations and studio practices including Mark Booth, Aaron Curry, Chris Johanson, Ryan Johnson, John Tanji Koga, Jason Meadows, Jim Nutt, Erik Parker, Ruth Root, and Ed Ruscha. The exhibition Untitled (for H. C. Westermann) includes work by each of these artists revealing the broad range of interests and artistic aproaches among fans and devotees of Westermann.

The exhibition is a companion to the full-color exhibition catalog Dreaming of a Speech Without Words: the Paintings and Early Objects of H. C. Westermann with essays by Michael Rooks, Dennis Adrian, and David McCarthy and catalog postscript by Mark Booth, Aaron Curry, Chris Johanson, Ryan Johnson, John Koga, Jason Meadows, Jim Nutt, Erik Parker, Ruth Root, and Ed Ruscha.
Untitled (for H. C. Westermann) was organized by The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and curated by Michael Rooks. In-kind support has been generously provided by Horizon Lines, LLC.

The Contemporary Museum
2411 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822
Tuesday through Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday noon-4pm
Free to children 12 and under;
Free to the public on the third Thursday of each month.
Closed Mondays and Major Holidays.
Information: (808) 526-1322 / www.tcmhi.org
24 hour recorded message: (808) 526-0232

Pualana Lemelle, PR Coordinator
The Contemporary Museum
(808) 237-5235 direct
(808) 536-5973 fax
plemelle@tcmhi.org

Related
Share
More
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (Spalding House)
Share - H. C. Westermann
  • Share
Close
Next