The dark nautical imagery that pervades Westermann's work is a product of his experiences as a marine during World War II and the Korean War. In these works, ships are caught in morbid and dismal scenes executed in cartoonlike line. Boats seemingly flung out of the water, trapped in ice, or arriving by night combine with terse environments of blazing color, glacial whiteness, and darkened skies. While seemingly desolate and foreboding, these images have a dark humor regarding life's inevitable pitfalls.
Gallery label from Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.