Alex Walker is giving viewers another dimension to experience art. His latest exhibit, “Time Lapse,” goes beyond the canvas and to the camera to document the creation process. It’s a mixing of mediums that he hopes will bring viewers closer to the works they see.
The show opens Friday at The Go-Away Garage on Commerce Street.
Walker got the idea for this show from his girlfriend, artist and hair stylist Stacy Renee. A client of hers suggested that she videotape herself painting. Walker liked the idea so much that he decided to pilfer it. He also took it a step further. Instead of simply filming his painting process, he made time-lapsed videos to accompany each of the works.
“I had been painting off and on since my first show last summer,” he said. “I had done some new paintings, but really I wasn’t that motivated. When I heard this idea, I ran with it. You get stuck in ruts sometimes and get stuck on the final product rather than enjoying the whole process. I was taking a video of it, so it kind of brought me back into a space where I can enjoy creating again.”
The show features 16 large-scale, vivid abstract paintings along with time-lapsed videos that correspond with 10 of them. The videos were recorded on Walker’s iPhone and made with a Windows media mixer app. They will be playing in a looped montage, along with footage of Walker mounting and readying the show. The reel will last about 45 minutes and repeat throughout the night. The videos will be projected along the back wall of the gallery, while the paintings hang throughout. It’s a multi-sensory experience that Walker says will hopefully make people feel more connected to the art they are viewing.
“When you go back and watch the videos, you can relive that creation process. It’s almost like you are viewing a painting in time because you are viewing all of the layers and the sequences by which paint is put onto the surface,” he said. “You get a really great sense of not just a two-dimensional space, but this four-dimensional space of it actually being applied.”
Walker’s paintings are quite layered, lending themselves well to this sort of experiment. Most of the pieces are 24 feet by 36 feet or larger, all constructed using Masonite. “Tentacles” features flame-like octopus legs rising up amidst an oceanic backdrop with a stained-glass sort of feel. “Writhe” displays a squirming orbed head attached to a twisted alien-looking body. “Mr. Desert” is a dapperly-dressed mustached man, colored in multiple shades of yellow. Because they are so large, each of the paintings have myriad sprawling details.
Though he already had a well-planned process for painting prior to doing the videos, Walker said that making them allowed him to focus more on the finite aspects of his works. While some of his videos capture the creation of the entire painting, much of the footage centers on his attention to distinct parts of a piece. Renee said she watched how his attention to those intricacies developed during the course of creating the series.
“I’ve noticed that since he started this work, he’s gotten more focused on the detail.” she said. “As each video has progressed, he’s done more to shoot the tiny detail shots.”
Walker said that he wants his show to be about more than simply works hanging on a wall. He hopes people walk away with an appreciation for the whole creative process and with an understanding that they can make a real connection to artists.
“The big take away from the show is having a greater context and having increased perspective,” he said. “You can see this thing, see it made, and then see it in real life. You can appreciate it in different ways. It’s adding more dimensions to it, adding more avenues to appreciate it. You can take in this painting not just as its surface, but as a span of time.”