We are pleased to present The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you, our first solo exhibition of work by Maria Walker. Walker has previously exhibited in two group exhibitions in the space: Camel Art Space’s Soft Edge, and Project 722’s Temperature.
Walker makes paintings by treating wood, canvas, and paint with equal importance. She assembles her stretchers from variously sized wooden boards, and also culls wood from previous stretchers, which carry the memory (and paint stains) of previous paintings. The canvas and paint are applied as an extension of this wooden drawing without privileging the surface. As a result, the paintings at times appear to be inside out, while others are reversible and can be displayed with either side facing forward. Walker’s paintings demonstrate economy and backbone; in her work, nothing is wasted.
Walker’s three-dimensional stretchers develop their own internal logic, but they also often refer to real-world objects of personal importance, including Shaker furniture, the cello, trees, and particular windows (from her studio or Walker’s childhood home). In these works the paintings read simultaneously as object, memory, and picture plane. In other paintings, Walker works with the element of time, using her paintings as clocks or calendars, creating time-based visual documents of the studio practice.
Walker’s process can be compared to a writer’s notebook, wherein scraps of old correspondence, poems, or thoughts are continuously combined with fresh observations, memories, or plans. Indeed, Walker maintains a simultaneous practice as a poet, and we are very pleased to offer a limited-edition hand-sewn chapbook of her poems in conjunction with the exhibition. The show’s title is taken from “The Breeze at Dawn,” a poem by the 13th-century Sufi poet, Rumi. The poem speaks to Walker’s clear-eyed, materially grounded studio practice, and also to the sense of wonder that this process, and the resulting painting-objects, can entail.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep!
Maria Walker received her MFA in Painting from Tyler School of Art and her BA in Visual Art from Brown University, where she also completed a Capstone Project in Poetry. She attended the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in 2011, and received an Individual Grant from the Belle Foundation for Cultural Development in 2013. Walker has exhibited in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin, Montreal, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Diego, Seattle, and Provincetown. Walker’s work has been published in the Smithsonian Magazine and reviewed as a Critic’s Pick on Artforum.com, as well as in the Brooklyn Rail, New American Paintings, Beautiful Decay, and Two Coats of Paint. Recent exhibitions include Impossible Atmosphere at Sgorbati Projects in New York.