Richard T. Walker: the predicament of always (as it is)
September 20, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Gatehouse at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
3809 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas
August 29, 2014, Austin, Texas — This fall, The Contemporary Austin debuts the predicament of always (as it is), a new, two-channel video installation by British-born, San Francisco–based artist Richard T. Walker. The artist has spent the last six years creating works that combine photography, video, performance, and large-scale installation to explore the complexities of language and human relationships via the expansive terrain of the American West. In the predicament of always (as it is) (2014), the artist mines the Texas landscape for the first time, incorporating iconic vistas from Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country and Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas, among other environments throughout the Southwest. The exhibition will be on view at the Gatehouse gallery at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria from September 20, 2014, to January 11, 2015.
In his body of work from the last several years, Walker has often incorporated text and music, speaking or singing en plein air while enveloped by vast landscapes otherwise devoid of human presence. By generally presenting himself with his back to the camera and utilizing props such as instruments, neon sculptures that reference mountain peaks, posters that replicate the actual landscape, and slide projectors, Walker allows viewers to project their own feelings, experiences, and thoughts onto his encounters. The artist’s work draws from varied sources including nineteenth-century German Romantic painting, American landscape photography and cinematography, British Land and conceptual art predecessors such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, contemporary performance artists such as Ragnar Kjartansson and Guido van der Werve, and classic indie rock.
In his installation for The Contemporary Austin, Walker again works outdoors, this time playing with the idea of “the whims of nature,” or incidents that happen by chance when objects are exposed to the elements, unprotected in the great outdoors. In the predicament of always (as it is), Walker has filmed a series of instruments placed within various landscapes. As in earlier videos, the artist enters his own work as a faceless character addressing the human condition. Rather than appear within the video with his back to the viewer, however, this time Walker interacts with his composed scenes from outside the frame, activating each instrument by throwing a rock or stone at it. Although instigated by the artist, the results of this offbeat, somewhat absurd gesture are reliant on the less predictable relationships among his own action, the mass of the objects, and gravity. The result is a playful yet contemplative look at both random and orchestrated interactions between humans and nature.
RICHARD T. WALKER
Richard T. Walker (British, born 1977 in Shrewsbury, UK) is based in San Francisco, CA. He received his BA in Fine Art from Bath Spa University College in 1999 and his MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London, in 2005. Upcoming solo exhibitions include the ASU Art Museum, Tempe (2014), and di Rosa, Napa (2015). Past exhibitions include James Cohan Gallery, New York; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Witte de With, Rotterdam; and K21, Düsseldorf.
Walker was a recipient of a fellowship at Kala Art Institute in 2007 and received an Artadia Award in 2009. He was an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts from 2007–2009 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. The artist is currently a senior lecturer at California College of the Arts and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University; Mills College; Stanford University; and Aarhus Kunstakademi, Denmark. Selected collections include Kadist Art Foundation (Paris and San Francisco) and K21, Düsseldorf.
EXHIBITION ORGANIZATION AND SUPPORT
the predicament of always (as it is) is organized by guest curator Rachel Adams. Museum support is provided by Oxford Commercial, Pedernales Cellars, and Vinson & Elkins LLP. This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and in part by the City of Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division, believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.
THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
The Contemporary Austin reflects the spectrum of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissions, education, and the collection. The museum has two distinct yet complementary locations, the Jones Center in downtown Austin at 700 Congress Avenue, and Laguna Gloria, a twelve-acre site on Lake Austin at 3809 W. 35th Street, which is home to the Driscoll Villa, the Art School, and the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.
ALSO ON VIEW
From September 20, 2014, to January 11, 2015, The Contemporary Austin presents Do Ho Suh, a multi-site solo exhibition of work by the Korean-born artist, on view at the Jones Center and Laguna Gloria.
IMAGE: Richard T. Walker, the predicament of always (as it is), 2014. Two-channel HD video. Courtesy the artist and Carroll/Fletcher.
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