Richard Walker / American Prayer
‘All come to look for America’ Simon and Garfunkel 1968
‘When I was a child in the 50s and 60s I was obsessed by all things American. I watched all the TV shows: I love Lucy, the Beverly Hill Billies, Bewitched amongst others. By 1962, aged 8, I even had a crew cut and sweatshirt, while all the other boys had pudding bowl hair and grey v-neck sweaters.
Later on, after my first visit to New York in the 70s, my prints and collages were all about American cities and cinematic landscapes.
In recent years, like many parts of the world, the United States has had a identity crisis, instigated by terrorism, polarised politics and civil unrest. During the Trump years, I decided not to visit until there was more stability and more importantly…humanity
For this new series, called American Prayer, (after the 1970 spoken word album by Jim Morrison of the Doors), I felt I wanted to reappraise all that had interested and inspired me over the years. I picked a selection of musicians, poets and writers, some well known, some less known and a few little known to kickstart the project. I wanted artists who don’t have a definitive visual image.
The work that started to flow is loose, abstract and colourful, and emerged from lines of verse, words from lyrics and moods from music. Free jazz, beat poetry, mystic mantras, psychedelic visions: they are all there..with nods to Chagall, Klee and De Chirico along the way.
The country is still wounded, but with these images I have reminded myself of some of the pioneering artists, who had ‘all come to look for America’ and for a brief period, they found it.’
Walt Whitman Allen Ginsberg Terry Riley Moondog Arthur Russell Jimi Hendrix Alice Coltrane Jim Morrison Annette Peacock Tim Buckley William Burroughs Ben LaMar Gay Steve Reich
Also part of the exhibition is ‘WALKERWORKS:ONPAPER’ A pop up style store exhibit with affordable small works on paper, prints, posters and cards
RICHARD WALKER was born in Yorkshire in 1954, and studied at 3 London art schools, Kingston, Camberwell and Chelsea during the 70s.
Since first exhibiting in London in 1978, he has had many solo shows in the UK, USA, Germany, Italy and most recently in Paris.
His work is in public and private collections worldwide.
His most recent project was ‘Cuckooland’ an interpretation of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’