Jason Walker "Corporeal Perspectives" - October 2012
Friday October 5th – October 31st, 2012
In collaboration with the Ferrin Gallery of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Cross MacKenzie Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of sculpture by noted ceramic artist, Jason Walker. His first exhibition in Washington DC, the artist continues to explore themes of man’s relationship to the natural environment through his extraordinary and seamless combination of painting and sculpture. Walker’s hope is that his work will lead us all to rethink our perceptions of nature, culture and wilderness.
In each of the sculptures in the show, the artist presents the inherent conflict of man’s connection to nature and technology – at once embracing and living with technology while at the same time understanding technology’s potential destruction of our nostalgic notions about nature. Walker questions the definition of nature that excludes man and the man-made – underlining this notion by setting many of his pieces in water or air where man is a guest among the fish and birds. Only through technology has man adapted to these worlds in order to take advantage of the resources. The artist is careful however, not to make judgments about society, “I am not so much taking a critical look at society as I am simply taking a critical look at myself in the society in which I live,” and he is quick to point out that he relies on technology in the form of glasses, “few of us can live outside the influence of 21st century technology”.
Upon acquaintance with Jason Walker’s artwork, it comes as no surprise that he was born out west, in Pocatello, Idaho. The western environment has been an ongoing source of inspiration for him – he has logged a 75 mile hiking trip through Yosemite for example, drawing on sketches made on the trail for his detailed surface imagery. His early training was as an illustrator at University of Utah where he received his BFA then went on to Penn State for his MFA in ceramics where he began employing his skills as a draftsman onto the three dimensional forms of his clay sculpture. He continues to hone this merging of 2 and 3 dimensions through his mature work on view in this exhibition, “Corporeal Perspectives”. The artist’s work is included in many important public and private collections such as the De Young Museum in San Francisco and the Arizona State University Art Museum among others. He has been awarded the prestigious NCECA fellowship to study in Japan and has had long-term artists residencies including at the renowned Archie Bray Foundation.
Walker spent time in Vallauris, France developing a new clay body and his recent residency in China sparked a new phase of experimentation. Determined to overcome the color limitations posed by commercial underglazes, he ventured into large-scale tile production and china painting on high-fired porcelain with the satisfying results he has now incorporated into his sculptural practice.
This exhibit showcases his new large-scale wall relief piece, “Blind Admiration” along with several of Walker’s porcelain sculptures of birds and animals, all painted in intricate detail with under glazes and china paints. At first glance, “Blind Admiration” presents us with a beautiful bucolic landscape with butterflies and other winged creatures buzzing about the foliage, a nest of hungry of fledglings in the foreground. But on a second look, the landscape is framed by black plumbing pipes, the light attracting the moths is a glaring light bulb, the cityscape on the red glowing horizon and the nest is a cradle of human hands– literally holding the fate of the bird’s future. Birds feature prominently in this exhibition. Walker’s entire body of work makes an exquisite petition for good stewardship of the planet.