Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Presenting Artist Walter King

Today I'm pleased to feature the art of Walter King. He submitted work to the blog via a call for art that I sent out in Benny Shaboy's wonderful Art Opportunities Monthly. I highly recommend this listing of exhibition, residency, and other options for artists. Here's a bit from Walter King's bio:

Walter King was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1952. His family left the ethnically diverse city about the time the Civil Rights movement was beginning to heat up in 1959 moving to Lawton Oklahoma and later to Tulsa in 1965 around the time that Viet Nam was becoming a serious issue in the news. He graduated from Memorial High School in 1970. He particpated in activities connected to the first Earth Day celebrations.

His family ran a small Arts and Crafts store and frame shop where he organized a corner gallery to show his own work as well as the work of a few friends. He also began experimenting with a variety of artists’ materials and used the back room late at night after business hours to teach himself to paint.

Chains © 2008 Walter King

About Chains:
This is from a series of drawings for larger paintings. The image of the man in a somewhat embryonic/catatonic pose began to also suggest the prone position traditionally assumed during prayer. The stacked figures began to feel like a multitude of Muslims confined while they were praying. The immediate suggestion to me was the prisoners at Guantanimo. My feelings about torture, habius corpus and the fact that their imprisonment without trial has done little to quell the rise of Al Qaida recruits ready to bring harm to themselves and others. - Walter King

More from his bio:
Tulsa in the early 70’s was a booming music town. Walter often designed posters for local singer songwriters-- the only other artists he knew at the time. Leon Russell built his recording studios which attracted national and international level musicians like JJ Cale, Eric Clapton and even George Harrison. In 1972 Walt had his first solo exhibition at a large night club called “The Power Plant” where he met JJ Cale one night and other studio musicians from Russell’s entourage. His work from that time included elements that have stayed in his art over the years, ladders, windows, over-layed patterning with figures and the use of spray paint and stenciling.
Most of that work burned up in a fire sometime later. But his penchant for complex compositions with multiple images had already begun. Source

Culture Wars © 2008 Walter King

About Culture Wars
This piece was in part inspired by the relatively recent theft of several works by Munch in which the thieves took the works off the walls in front of numerous gallery goers in broad daylight. Today in our diverse and ever changing culture there are those who are trying to pull us back to an older mindset, a set of values that prefers a wealthy/corporate oligarchy over democracy. It is a dominantly white-Anglo Saxon old-school mindset that places war in the forefront of international policy for the protection of oil supplies thereby propping up an environmentally unsound petroleum economy. They cannot or do not see the weakness of this viewpoint and have fallen prey to the designs of international terrorists. Wars follow them wherever they go. Source

White House © 2008 Walter King

About White House:
From a series of four images of houses. This one is a symbolic suggestion of the relationship between Washington (the house suggests a shorter fatter Washington Monument) and the military industrial complex that both George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower among others warned us about. Source

From Walter's Artists' statement:
I find myself often making commentary on the post modern society in which I live therefore bleeding over into political subjects from time to time. In a sense all art is political in this way at some level even if all one is doing is a painting of a beautiful landscape. The context of that landscape in this current environmentally unsound age sets up a political comparison perhaps without intention or pretension. I also take on illustration assignments from time to time although not so often as I once did years past when I made my living as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer during the 70’s and 80’s. My work has been published in Oprah Magazine, Tulsa Magazine, by the United Friends Action Committee, the American Illustration Annual and web site, the American Institute of Graphic Artists Annual, the catalog for the 40th commemoration of the Hiroshima bombing called “Peace“ and a magazine in Hungary called Industrie-Technik. My paintings have been exhibited in the U.S. as well as the Hiroshima Museum in Japan, the Kulturrathaus in Dresden Germany and the Centro Cultural de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Good and Bad Government © 2008 Walter King

About Good and Bad Government:
A simple premise in which good government props up the society for the greatest good of all while bad government climbs up on the back of the society for the benefit of itself and its allies. The inspiration for this piece comes from a Renaissance fresco in Sienna Italy by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. It is called Allegory of Good Government: Effects of Good Government in the Country. 1338-40. Fresco. Palazzo Publico, Siena, Italy. Source

About his artistic process:

I often use a stenciling process in my work that is very similar to silk screen printing. It is also a technique championed by contemporary graffiti artists. The iconography I use-- simple figures often repeated or woven together in chains or brocades allow me to see them in various arrangements and meanings. It has become a vital and fertile symbolic language. I use auto body primers and colored spray paint, charcoal, pastels, and on larger works on canvas both acrylics and oils.

Breathing Underwater © 2008 Walter King

Breathing Underwater

by Walter King 2008

That the witch drowned
did not make her guilty
-or the inquisitor smarter.

The question is not a line
between empty or full...
but who can breath underwater?

And so the Burka and blindfold
become equally blind.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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