This fall I had the pleasure of creating editions of two prints for friend and fellow artist Sandy Walker. Though Walker is known for his abstract figure and landscape painting, I came to know him through printmaking, through our mutual association with California Society of Printmakers. Over the past ten years, my studio Painted Tongue Press has created 5 Walker editions.
Walker’s wood blocks are minimalist abstract works printed in black ink on Japanese paper. They read like calligraphic brush strokes, which are fast and fluid, but they are set in solid and irrefutable wood –the presence of which is emphasized by careful attention to maintaining clear definition in the wood grain while printing. Fast isn’t the opposite of solid, nor fluid the opposite of irrefutable, but visually and artistically, these read as two opposing states which Walker manages to not simply cause to coexist, but to form an intrinsic union, to present together as one. They are influenced by place, but not a specific place, and they deal with essence that goes deeper than appearance.
The beautiful titles of these two pieces are influenced by the poet Farnham Blair, with whom Walker has been working in collaboration. The images on these blocks were developed in the North Cascades of Washington State and were carved in the artist’s Oakland studio.
The prints were on display at Gary Francis Fine Art this fall, in the show “Sandy Walker: Figures & Landscapes,” which offers a closing reception Sunday October 26th at 3 pm, 1419E Park St, Alameda, California.