Born in Camden, New Jersey, Walton briefly studied at the Institute of Design in Chicago before moving to Philadelphia in 1964 where he was a commercial printmaker by trade. Interested in the materials used for printmaking – wood, lead, steel – more than the finished product, Walton began to make three-dimensional pieces after seeing an exhibition of sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Since then his sculptures have been recognised for their ability to achieve harmonious balance through contrasting elements positioned and combined with lyrical precision.
His treatment of found objects call upon a range of artistic disciplines such as painting, poetry, and sculpture. They harness the visual language of both Minimalism and assemblage, but transcend the boundaries of these movements and become idiosyncratic depictions of an interior world. Similarly, his drawings demonstrate a fine-tuned engagement with paper that echoes his origins as a printmaker. The fact that Walton never dated his works further informs their temporal complexity whilst existing as enduring relics to and for their maker.
The objects and ephemera used to compose his works were sourced from his surroundings in the studio as well as the natural landscape, and always harken a symbiotic relationship between these two domains. A testament to his multidisciplinary background, Walton’s uncanny approach to materials reflect a keen sensitivity that foreground an acute attentiveness to both time and place.
With special thanks to the estate of Bill Walton and Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia
Bill Walton (1931-2010) had his first exhibition in 1971 and over his long career exhibited in galleries and a variety of institutions across the United States including the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Lois Fernley Award which helped to support the publication of his 2006 monograph by Arcadia University. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Yale University Gallery and Wesley College.