John Walker, Swept In, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 66 inches
With all that is happening in New York museums and galleries, it would be easy to overlook this extraordinary group of recent paintings by John Walker, rather tucked away at the 499 Park Avenue lobby gallery (through March 30, 2019). Hanging in the massive corporate lobby on marble walls, Walker's muscular, rugged paintings are visualizations of human presence, and for those who walk through this cold space daily, must be a welcome reminder of their aliveness.
I have always thought of Walker as a landscape painter -- not landscape as seen, but landscape as felt, or as sensed in totality. These works are built as organized accumulations of rhythms. It is the rhythm of the pulse, the breath, the waves on the shore. The striations of thick impasto have a primal quality that supports their connection to these most fundamental impulses. In their scale, weight, and heavily worked surfaces, these paintings offer endless excursions into the depths of human sensibility.
John Walker, Swept In (detail)
John Walker, Champagne Day, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 66 inches
John Walker, John's Bay Pollution, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 66 inches
John Walker, Stacked, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 66 inches
John Walker, Stacked (detail)
John Walker, Installation view, 2018, 499 Park Avenue Gallery