Kelley Walker - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Kelley Walker's artistic practice has served as a continuum for the cultural analysis and abstraction of iconic images that began with Andy Warhol’s pop art. Indeed 'Kelly Walker's bricks read as both an abstract pattern and an impenetrable wall' Jeffrey Deitch explains. 'Walker's "brick paintings" propose another way to reconcile the opposing aesthetic directions of Pollock, Johns, and Warhol. They reference Pollock's nonhierarchical composition, Johns' engagement with the found abstraction of his flagstone pattern, and Warhol's abstraction of iconic images rendered with a mechanical printing technique.’ (J. Deitch, The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012, p. 6)

    Walker’s post-pop wizardry entails traditional image production juxtaposed with techniques from the digital age. In Untitled, everyday magazines and newspapers are collaged against silkscreen images of bricks, each one scanned and printed by hand. The artist uses the traditional CMYK printing process to invert the traditional colours of the brick into saturated shades. As they are stacked over each the magazines recede into the canvas, only emerging as something akin to mortar between these digital bricks. While the magazine’s headlines and text have become obscured, they remain tangible in the architectural structure as a whole, serving as a means for Walker to highlight the invasive and infiltrative abilities of popular culture against the very foundations of our consumer society. Even more ominously, it appears as a suggestion of the fundamental instability within society at large.

    The artist describes his celebrated brick paintings as possessing a 'depth of actual architectural space', while expressing a 'confused, digitally displaced logic.' Amidst the gridded surfaces of the work exists an ode to the brick and mortar urban landscape of New York, where Walker resides, and his own brick studio windows. The flatness of the canvas and overall 'wall' image is defied by the lurid tones of the white bricks, in addition to the flecks of colour, completed by an almost looming shroud of smaller black bricks. In essence, Walker highlights the power of recycling and re-appropriation as legitimate aesthetic techniques in their own right, but also, in their power, through the staging and re-staging of objects, to inform past, present and future histories.



four colour process silkscreen on canvas with newspaper
198.5 x 138 cm (78 1/8 x 54 3/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Kelley Walker 2007' on the reverse.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £161,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016