Edge Over Easy by Jerry Walden
March 14 through April 19, 2014
Opening reception: March 14, 2014, 6-9pm
Brooklyn, NY — February 19, 2014 — Through hardedge paintings in acrylic on canvas Jerry Walden investigates the nature of the aesthetic experience by combining Formalist compositional elements of color, line, pattern and direction with personal emotions and memories.
The basic structure of each composition, ruled in pencil on raw canvas, mimics the angles and lines of the stretcher frame itself. Therefore, the visual form of the painting is derived from the architectural dynamics of the stretcher. The graphite lines wrap around the edges of the stretcher and bring the usually hidden structural elements to the surface of the canvas. Mr. Walden intuitively adds lines from different points along the edge of the stretcher reemphasizing and repeating the basic structure. This highlights the materiality of each artwork “My paintings start out being about their construction, not so much as a record of process, but they begin and end as objects, as built things with paint on them.”
Once the composition is drawn on the canvas Walden begins a two-step painting process. The first layer of color is chosen at random, and the second layer of color is carefully chosen for its visual characteristics as it harmonizes and contrasts with the existing colors on the canvas. After much thought and looking Walden adds and subtracts colors, and this process is repeated until the overall composition reaches a logical conclusion where no one element can be removed without fundamentally altering the whole painting.
In the five paintings included in Edge Over Easy the title of each numbered painting also includes parenthetical words or phrases. The parenthetic titles reference particular memories of artists influential in Walden’s artistic development and sometimes a unifying color or colors of a particular piece. These phrases act as homage to fellow artists and relate to a “peculiar emotion” Clive Bell describes in his 1914 treatise, Art. A premise common to many theories of art, Bell describes 'the starting point for all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion.'
The colors that evolve out of the process of a painting’s completion remind Walden of a particular painting or artist. However, the colors of each painting are not directly copied and matched from a specific well known painting or artist referenced in the titles. It is this combination of formal visual elements with subjective emotions and responses that Walden explores. These recollections, these flickers of memory of seeing a particular artist’s work or body of work, are what pushes the conceptual underpinning of his work beyond process and the merely compositional, and how he asks us to ponder our own aesthetic experience.
In over 40 years of studio practice Jerry Walden’s work has been exhibited across the US and around the world. His work is in numerous public and private collections. He earned his BFA from Auburn University in 1968, and his MFA from the University of Georgia (USA) in 1971. He lives and maintains his studio in Rock Hill, SC.