Bradd Westmoreland Garden temple, 2007 oil on linen 162.5 x 188cm

From February 7 to March 3, 2012 – Niagara Galleries

Bradd Westmoreland is compelled to do what he does – to apply paint, or if truth be known, to be the conduit for the paint applying itself to the canvas. Without any hint of a new-age shaman, Westmoreland aims to achieve a certain level of heightened awareness when painting. Not a trance, but a hyper-aware state where there is just him, the brush, the paint and the canvas. How or what appears is spontaneous, natural and, he would say, inevitable.

I just let the painting happen. I am actively not thinking about what I want to paint. It is as if the painting simply appears without physical hesitation, without mental questioning.

Westmoreland just trusts the paint ‘to do its thing’. It takes courage for an artist to almost relinquish control – the canvas is like a pool of water at the bottom of a very big cliff he has just jumped off with the paint as his metaphoric bungy cord. Many entries in Bradd Westmoreland’s painting diaries talk about being brave and effort.

‘Don’t be afraid of the dark’ ‘Never be shy’ ‘Just let it happen’ ‘Don’t try too hard’

Essentially, it is from the order and routine of a structured studio practice – painting, life drawing classes, work diaries – that Westmoreland has the freedom to lose himself in the process of making images. For him it is not about what to paint, but almost what not to paint.

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