Anticipation isn’t what it used to be. The result never seems to qualify the build up. Underwhelming fantasies are still here because they may be more real than the real within which they choose to float and find description.
Richard T. Walker
Carroll / Fletcher is pleased to announce a new solo exhibition by San Francisco-based British artist Richard T. Walker. everything failing to become something furthers the artist's ongoing research into the American West. Drawing on experimental sound-making and the combined legacies (and clichés) of land art and romanticism, Walker's work explores the relationship between sincerity and experience, feeling and understanding, music and language.
The exhibition will feature a recent body of work never shown in the UK before, including a two-channel video shot in Southwest Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Lightboxes present rocks turning into mountains, while reproductions of etchings, taken from a 19th century Alpine travelogue, bear cut-out mountain tops rolling at the bottom of the frames in which they are displayed. Formed from Casiotone keyboards, Walker's sculptural neon installations mimic the jagged outlines of the rocks placed on the works' keys. These create a drone-like sound, anticipating the hum of the empty spaces featured in his new video work.
Walker's musical influences range from Brian Eno and La Monte Young to 80s and 90s alternative and indie rock bands Spacemen 3, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, which deeply affected him during his childhood in Shropshire, on the rural border of England and Wales. Critical reflections on the oeuvre of iconic American photographer Ansel Adams and Hudson River School landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church have also played a key role in shaping Walker's practice.
The video the predicament of always (as it is) (2014) was partly shot near Marfa, Texas, a high site of minimalism, closely associated with Donald Judd. It begins with Walker in the pose of the Rückenfigur, a solitary presence seen from behind, amid deserted expanses. Clad in his signature red t-shirt, the artist sits en plein air in various natural locales while a recorded soundtrack of his own voice plays, as if he was attempting to converse with the awe-inspiring - but frustratingly mute - nature around him.
Throughout the piece, Walker films a series of static instruments placed within multiple landscapes and proceeds to activate each one by throwing a rock at it from outside the frame. The modest, verging-on-pathetic gesture has an existentialist quality: motivated by the vital urge to fully commune with one's environment, it sharply highlights the virtual impossibility thereof.