December 9, 2010

Hyperactivity



On Saturday November 13 The Baltimore Museum of Art Curator of Contemporary Art, Kristen Hileman, moderated a discussion with New York- based artists and collaborators Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker. In conjunction with the Baltimore Museum of Art’s presentation of Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, Guyton\Walker is exhibiting a new installation of visual environments, built from a colorful combination of appropriated and manipulated digital and screen-printed images as well as sculptural elements such as paint cans, tables and dry wall. Wade Guyton (b.1972) and Kelley Walker (b.1969) are well known for their collaborative work producing expansive site-specific installations that incorporate various images of bananas, coconuts, checkerboards, apples, and citrus fruit to create a unique body of work. Together they innovatively combine aspects of fine art and graphic design resulting in an exploration of contemporary digital and print media. Both artists have earned considerable success as individual talents with busy independent careers.

The artists spoke about their collaboration and how it relates to their solo work. As a single entity Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker have gained confidence and strength which has evolved into more sophisticated and developed work. “It allows us to not take ourselves that seriously” says Kelley Walker. To paraphrase Wade Guyton‘s observations, the works may not necessarily make sense, describing the creative process as somewhat unstable resulting in an exciting dialogue. The emphasis here is the playful depiction of re conceptualized images created using scanners, photocopiers and digital printers and the employment of new materials such as drywall as a medium as well as making furniture and “objects” such as paint cans, wax sculptures and ceramic coconut chandeliers. Guyton\Walker illuminates an interesting relationship between objects and actions which leads to an unclear yet visually stunning piece of art. The work can be complicated and difficult to analyze or look for recognizable figures or objects.

In this new show Guyton\Walker presents work in a variety of forms, including large silk screened and ink jet canvases, sheets of painted drywall, a large checkered wax monolith and of course their signature paint cans. The paint cans appear in the hundreds, amassed in groups, lined up against the walls, a vast collection spread throughout the Front Room exhibition space. As in the other works of Guyton\Walker each can’s label is intensely worked, displaying multiple layers of brightly colored pop culture imagery. Vibrant vertical and horizontal stripes and paint saturated smears are abundant. A simultaneous mix of repetition, interpretation and appropriation, Guyton\Walker ventures across the disciplines, bringing together different fragments of artistic expression captured on new digital media technology. The merging of their artistic talents results in work that is drawing directly on established traditions including Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Prince. This exhibition is clever and complex and will continue through January 16, 2011.

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