Planet X by Sarah Walker at Pierogi
Pierogi is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings on panel and paper by Sarah Walker. Walker continues to develop visually as well as physically rich surfaces. In these works there is a distinct and new focus where she explores a centralized composition and from this potential narratives emerge. Planet X references a mythical planet predicted to impact and possibly destroy Earth on 12-12-12. When that date came and went uneventfully, explanations and new dates for its eventual arrival were devised. It also refers to the theory, developed by Percival Lowell and held from the mid 19th- to the early 20th-centuries, that an unknown planet, referred to as “Planet X,” might exist as an explanation for discrepancies in the orbits of several outer planets in our solar system. It was eventually agreed that such a planet did not exist however, even among some astronomers, “Planet X” has become a common term for any undiscovered planet in the outer solar system.
Walker’s metaphor is very cogent. Even though there is a whimsical nature to the title these works can pull you in with their intricate geometries and dissolving perspectival systems that Walker is so good at creating. There is a real sense of discovery that compels the viewer to keep looking.
The paper works, called Near Earth Objects, isolate a central nebulous form; part portrait, part portal, part unknown object emerging from a white halo-like field. These “objects” appear to be surrounded by their own atmosphere. The works are installed so that they resemble a swarm of meteors, or a portrait gallery, or a collection of images from field research, as it were, like the notebook of a 19th century botanist, or the image capture of a 21st century astro-physicist.
Walker’s work still reflects “the chaotic and multi-dimensional reality of existing simultaneously in the data overload of the real and the virtual worlds. Where the so-called real and the virtual have merged and the two realms are no longer distinguishable.” Lowell’s theory proved incorrect but perhaps Walker can lead us further with her paintings of maximal density, into multiple conjoined spaces that are material as well as virtual and dematerialized. Her metaphors of outerspace turn in on themselves to describe our inner space and its structures.
“While all the work winds through the metaphor of space objects we discover ‘out there’ that fascinate with their mystery or hurl towards us with menace, the Meteor is my springboard for thinking about how we encounter ourselves as objects in a world of multiplicity and virtuality informed by physics, psychology and technology, where the outlines of self blur and assume other forms potentially as fabulous as they are fearsome.” (Walker, 2013)
This will be Walker’s fourth one-person exhibition at Pierogi. Her work has been included in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Decordova Museum, the Neuberger Museum, and the Rappaport Foundation. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Prize and the Rappaport Prize.