While artists may find inspiration in their imagination the substance of their creations is often discovered in some quirk of experience. A simple desire, an obsessive curiosity or a childhood anecdote are all triggers that unload ideas onto canvas, into prose or over emulsion. The successful artist moves from one project to the next refining ideas and honing their craft, seeking to secure the moment when ideas sizzle in emollients of gesture and form.
Melanie Walker has recalled the essential quirks and cultivated the necessary imaginative qualities in a career of art production and teaching that formally began in the early 1970's. But her investigations and inquiries into the artworld probably began much earlier when she was introduced to many contemporary artists on an informal basis at home. In her work that was exhibited in a solo exhibition in the Light Work Gallery from February 22 to March 24, 1988, she combines an obsessive curiosity and a zeal for the photographic process. These images reveal a lucid imagination while reserving specific meanings for individual interpretations. Included in the exhibition were a few gum bicromate prints and a more extended selection of 20x24 inch Polaroid prints.
While the gum prints are laboriously created in the darkroom and the Polaroids are instantly produced their similarities are immediately apparent. In both suites of images Walker explores the promise of the still life. In the gum prints she introduces familiar objects of domestic endeavors that suggest nourishment and bonding and extends those ideas in the Polaroids in an all out assault on tranquillity and harmony.
The muted hues of kitchen utensils and seductive shapes of arranged vegetables in the gum prints are replaced in the Polaroids with spuriously painted pasta and dented and broken pots and plates. What was once an inviting feast for the eyes in the gum prints becomes a sinister omen and playful warning in the Polaroids. Walker seduces the viewer with alluring colors and provocative arrangements, but when her enticement is complete, the viewer must come to grip with the mysterious sensation that endures between attraction and repulsion.
Walker is extending her current two dimensional work into elaborate installations . Her new projects incorporate many of the ideas in her previous still lifes. By combining recorded noises and sound activated devises with her still images the installations expand her ideas about the enduring nature of home and demonstrate her lithe and poignant imaginative spirit.
Jeffrey Hoone (c) 1988