Christie Contemporary is pleased to present Layer Upon Layer, a solo exhibition of work by Douglas Walker, opening Friday, February 3 and continuing until March 11.
For over thirty years, Douglas Walker has offered enigmatic takes on traditional subject matter—primarily landscape and the built environment—realized in media ranging from photodrawings and photography, to sculpture, to painting. Consistently, his work, though cleaving to representational motifs, manifests as unworldly, often other-worldly, anchoring just enough in the realm of the real to make it feel unlikely. Here, photographs from the late 1980s and paintings from the early 2000s trace his materially innovative challenges to representation.
With strategies of distortion in his photographs, Walker layers recognizable structures of industry with image gestures that introduce a spatial dimension, a gap between the view and the viewed object, further obscured with the inclusion of visual “noise”—seemingly incidental marks and smudges—occurring across the layered surface. The resulting, constructed image, achieved by rephotographing the composite layers as one, is dislodged from any temporal fixity, variably read as abandoned past or insistent ruins in a yet unapprehended future.
Walker’s benchmark, monochromatic blue paintings similarly elude or perhaps complicate singular reading as a represented object in a perceived time. The central image of a Modernist building is repeated as a geometry across several paintings, each immersed in an atmospheric dreamscape of looping foliage and deep twilight sky. The painterly gestures with which Walker designates each form, dense flourishes that recall Art Deco styling create sweeping columns and, coupled with the foreground layer of near-alien ground cover, unseat their connection to the inhabitable, instead coaxing the viewer to contemplate the imaginable.
DOUGLAS WALKER (b. Brockville 1958, lives and works in Toronto). Walker studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Power Plant, Toronto; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, BC; Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto; Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa; ICA London, UK; and Dia Foundation, New York. A mid-career retrospective was organized by the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (touring), and an overview of his career was featured at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in 2001. Douglas Walker’s work is featured courtesy of Parts Gallery, Toronto.