John Walker

The Arts Club of Chicago

John Walker’s recent dilemma is a particularly poignant one. He is a remarkably skilled artist who works in the grand painterly tradition, yet he seems to suspect that that tradition is exhausted—no more than a shadow of its former glory. His work reflects his search for meaning with paint, and his assertion of self through the encounter with the canvas, coupled with the sustained significance of the struggle between form and content, suggests that his approach still affords a certain potential. With each bout with the rectangle, Walker battles himself, and the crux of these paintings rests in their battered pride, in the artist’s ability—quite like that of Don Quixote—to imbue with stature what might otherwise be taken as aimless, tragicomic meandering.

Carelessly painted dark grids often echo the shape of Walker’s largish canvases. These brooding and frequently reworked areas suggest bits

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