Westwood Gallery NYC is pleased to present Imagining the Cosmos: Abstract Paintings, a solo show of paintings by James Juthstrom (1925-2007). On view in the gallery’s main level are eight abstract paintings from the late 1970s through the 1980s; included in the exhibition is a monumental 10’ x 22’ painting on canvas which will be on view to the public for the first time.
Instead of grounding his mid-career paintings in the physical action of his contemporaries, Juthstrom turned to a unique spiritual and rhythmic abstraction. The large canvases are painted with small colored circles, loose hatch marks, and hand-made stamped formations, some revealing themselves only under light. Juthstrom’s work from this period also has no discernable focus, reminiscent of the allover compositions of Jackson Pollock and Mark Tobey.
Juthstrom’s idea to utilize patterning to create energy came after years of experimentation in creating the ‘perfect circle’ – which included an innovative series of his abstract paintings on elliptical hand-made stretchers. Juthstrom found that q-tips were the best brush to create his allover compositions. His process required a meditative commitment to each painting, dedicating months, sometimes years, to each canvas.
Yet Juthstrom’s paintings lend themselves beyond the physical limitations of their massive canvases. Their spiritual and mystical energy call on the viewer to connect on an emotional level by reading between the infinite maze of circular strokes. Behind their uncountable layers, reflective pigments shimmer, revealing influence beyond the cosmos and biology to 6th century mosaics from Rome and the Middle East. For example, in the diptych “Universal,” circa 1980s, white, blue, purple, and the occasional pink circles form tricks to the eye in either canvas, revealing hash marks in one canvas and ripples in the other. An integration of both silver and gold reflective pigments further accentuate the bright colors intricately overlaid on a base of black.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
James Juthstrom (1925-2007) was an American artist who lived and worked in his Broome Street loft in SoHo for 50 years creating paintings, drawings, etchings, and sculpture ranging from abstract to figurative. His artwork was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum (1955-56), Whitney Museum of American Art (1956), Detroit Institute of Arts (1957), and Gallery G (1957) among others. Although he had opportunities for gallery representation, he withdrew from the art world and created work in the privacy of his loft. Westwood Gallery continues to promote the legacy of James Juthstrom, and maintains the ownership and archive of his estate.