David Westling

M. Kooksie's Predicament
© 2018 David Westling

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The key event in my artistic development is still the 1974 Marcel Duchamp retrosepctive
at the Art Institute of Chicago. In his work I found affirmation and refusal, the affirmation of
the magnificence of life, and the refusal to compromise by mirroring the concerns of the
Academy. For me this entailed the refusal to undertake art school training, or even
complete my four-year university degree. I would be an autodidact.
My art eschews the purely abstract, which to me seems to be a muddled way of depicting
reality. Neither is it strictly figurative, or should I say, naturalistic. The fantastic is always
present, either just beneath the surface or overt. But it is always done with an eye toward
inducing the spectator to examine the underlying assumptions of one's course in life. A
primary device is that of short-circuiting the usual spectator-artist dynamic--a refusal to
provide the spectator with something worthy of worship. Defrocking is necessary in these
days of dark superstition.

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