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-- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ?

 

Contact:  Hina Hirayama (617-227-0270, ext. 233)

 

Boston, MA  (4 February 2003)  The exhibition "Anne Walker:  Painted
Books" will open on February 13 in the Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery of
the Boston Athenæum and run through May 3, 2003.  The opening reception
is on February 13, from 5:30 ? 7:30 p.m.

"Folded paintings" is a term Anne Walker sometimes uses to describe her
books, which are conceived as continuous accordion-scrolls that allow
each page its own composition while integrating it in a progression that
can change the dominant colors and moods as one turns the pages.
Although devoted to the abstract poetics of color ? lines as such are
rarely visible ? Walker's painted books evoke natural phenomena and
usually have a landscape feeling.  The nearest analogies to her work are
found in Monet's late series or in East Asian scrolls that are based
upon poetic immersions in natural forms.  

            How does Walker make her books?  After cutting and folding
the paper, she begins by dampening it and applying gouache in a harmony
she has first thought of, but is willing to adjust as she goes along.
The gouache is partly absorbed by the paper to give a vaporous quality
that can vary from simulacra of hazy sunshine in light yellows and blues
to miasmal and fuming qualities of deep maroons and blues.  She then
takes up dry pastel sticks and works over her pages in both swirling
scumbles and softer, broader touches.

Walker has what she calls "living and phantom collaborators," whose
words are added to her paintings once they have been completed.  Many of
her books are closely associated with poetry, never as illustrations but
as visual parallels.  "If I have made a book and given it to a friend to
write in," she says, "there is an additional element which consists of
his handwriting, choice of words, decisions about where to place the
words within my images.  This can change the direction the eye takes."
She has used the words of Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Michel
Butor, Kenneth Koch, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams, among
others.

            The Athenæum is the perfect setting for an exhibition of
Anne Walker's extraordinary painted books.  She is a native New
Englander who immigrated to France after graduating from Smith College.
In Paris in 1956 she worked with J. Friedlaender, with whom she studied
etching.  She began making her unusual gouache and pastel books in 1989,
and her interest in this work soon displaced her interest in
printmaking.  Since 1956 her work has been recognized in both group
shows and solo exhibitions in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland,
Sweden, and the United States, and her painted books have been acquired
by major libraries and museums in those countries.  She lives in Paris
with her artist-husband Bertrand Dorny. 

 

An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with an
introductory essay by Robert L. Herbert.

Gallery hours:  Monday-Friday 9:00-5:30 (Monday evenings until 8:00)

                            Saturday (9:00-4:00)

This program is free and open to the public.

 

 

James Reid-Cunningham

Chief Conservator

Boston Athenaeum 
10 ½ Beacon Street 
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-3777 U.S.A.
(617) 720-7617  

reid-cunningham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 

 

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