March brings fresh air and new works by Mary Walker to the Corrigan Gallery LLC in a show titled “On The Stage of Life.” Walker’s new series of paintings explores the emotional life of humans by presenting vignettes with bits and pieces of life coming into and out of the paintings. The show will open on Friday, March 6 with a reception at 5:00 p.m. and will hang through March 31, 2009. This is Walker’s first solo show since the Griffith Lowcountry Artist Award show in 2007. Walker is featured in the March 2009 issue of Charleston Magazine.
These new paintings began as a continuation of a series of works inspired by ballads. The music chosen consists of “Strange Fruit,” “Norma” and La Voix Humain,” the last two being operas rather than ballads. The idea of a square format drew Walker’s attention as the square seemed like a stage or a circus where different players could interact. Walker has begun pieces with a subject inspiring the work such as the ballads and operas but she does not emphasize the imposed themes instead letting the work develop on its own. The narratives presented in paint show threads of communications that might include heartbreak or joy – all emotions are fair game with indifference being anathema to the artist. The gloomy theme of “Strange Fruit” led to leaving the ballad theme behind yet a struggle began immediately and the artist felt a failing for losing the original themes. Letting the paintings evolve and to take on an energy of their own, the artist’s philosophy of life emerged. A philosophy appears indicating that despite sorrows and hardships, life is a rich tapestry.
Many think that artists start with an image then draw the image on the canvas and then paint. Walker does not follow these steps. She may start with one central figure, add two during the process and end up with four. One of the most fascinating things about the stages of her paintings is seeing how they will turnout. Walker has often started with no fixed narrative, adding figures and a story develops. She likens it to being inviting several people to a gathering – never quite sure who will show up or when or what might develop. The ballads are portraits of a character, a single figure. In 2004, she organized “The Scrolls,” an anti-war project involving both national and international artists that has been exhibited in Charleston, Cincinnati and Washington, DC. As a narrative painter and printmaker, her main interest is with the figure or that of birds, horses and cats.
The Corrigan Gallery presents art with a future instilled with intellect. The gallery can be reached at 843 722 9868, email@example.com or http://corrigangallery.com.