The art of Robert Walker occupies an unsettling intersection in the visual atlas of our world. Hauntingly beautiful (and often just haunting), Walker’s paintings invoke a spectrum of styles, methods, genres and visions. Black-metal album covers, back-of-the-notebook-doodling, fine-art gallery showings, historic Asian prints, Mad Comics caricatures and grotesqueries … they all all flow together into the swirl of his imagination.
In Walker’s world, science-fiction futures are depicted with dystopian honesty and the unflinching brutality of angry and neglected youth. Parodies of Monsanto advertisements combine the corporate criticism of Ron English with horrors that could’ve sprung from the pen of Gerald Scarfe or Ralph Steadman.
The art’s play of color, shape, light and shadow suggests a mastery of form and technique, but none of the work is hidebound or trapped by tradition. Indeed, tradition in Walker’s hands isn’t so much confronted or challenged as mutated and distorted into unsettling works of “environmental surrealism,” ghoulish femmes fatales, animal hybrids, and journeys through a disturbingly gorgeous Wonderland.
Walker leaps from genre tropes to the nakedly reactive core of your id, creating art that is visceral, beautiful and full of intrigue — but it’s clear that these are people, places and things you really don’t want to know much more about …