Natalie Westbrook's work is a testament to the art of capturing the essence of the human form in all its nuances. In the exhibition titled "Sometimes I Scare Myself" she invites viewers to confront their deepest fears and uncertainties. Her imagery often fills the entire canvas, immersing the viewer into a claustrophobic world that is both haunting and beautiful. The looming faces lock eyes with the viewer, smiling maniacally and knowingly, reminding us that painting is a two-dimensional construct. Westbrook challenges our perceptions of what is real while confronting us with our fears.
The title of the exhibition, "Sometimes I Scare Myself," references a human experience that we all know, yet is highly personal. Everyone has unwanted nightmares brought on by the subconscious, but being scared can also be something we desire and actively search for. The idea that one is responsible for scaring oneself offers levity in the face of fear. Westbrook's works provide an opportunity for introspection: what do we find scary, what do we find comical, and where lies the border between the two?
Westbrook's artistic themes are rooted in the complex relationship between the human body and the natural world. She challenges viewers to confront their deepest fears and uncertainties, exploring themes of identity, beauty, and fragility. The paintings evoke a complex conversation between surface and pictorial space, conjuring scenes that are dreamlike yet wrought with urgency.
In "Sometimes I Scare Myself," Westbrook presents a wide range of approaches to material and representation, including drawing, staining, brushwork, spray paint, textured oil paint and stenciling techniques on both canvas and paper. The abstracted faces, evocative shapes and figures are animated by the artist's vivid and daring use of colour.
About the Artist
Natalie Westbrook has lectured at Yale University, the University of Hartford, CT, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Carnegie Mellon University where she currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. She exhibits her work in galleries and museums across the United States and internationally. Her paintings have garnered critical acclaim for their bold approach to the human form, capturing its beauty and complexity. Westbrook's work is a celebration of the human experience, pushing boundaries and challenging viewers to explore the depths of their own fears and uncertainties.