Observation: Corban Walker

By Breyanne Urbin

Art lovers joined us at the David Owsley Museum of Art on Thursday, February 23 to welcome Corban Walker and Lisa Banner. Walker is one of three featured artists in SHIFT, a contemporary sculpture exhibition at the David Owsley Museum of Art, curated by Dr. Lisa Banner. The two of them presented and talked about the masterful artwork of Walker to David Owsley Museum of Art’s visitors in Recital Hall.

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Pictured: Corban Walker and Lisa Banner on stage at First Person: Corban Walker (Photo by Emma Rogers)

Born and raised in Dublin, Corban Walker stays busy all around the world working on his art. Linearity dominates his art style; sometimes, Walker likes to make chaos with linearity but a majority of his work tends to be very orderly and simple. To explain why his art is usually so simplistic, Walker quoted Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957, Romanian Sculptor) in his presentation saying, ‘Simplicity is complexity resolved.’ Walker will also involve his viewers into his art whether it is by making his art an obstacle for the viewer to overcome or by using translucent material to catch the viewer’s eye. The art becomes interactive.

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Pictured: Observation, 2012, Corban Walker (Photo from corbanwalker.com)

Standing at four feet tall, Walker uses his art to challenge his viewers’ mindset on what “normal” really means which he mentioned this idea during his speech. Since I have been involved with SHIFT, this semester, I personally found it interesting to learn more about Walker’s art outside of SHIFT. I loved hearing about his art process and how he makes the viewers such an important element in his work.

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Pictured: The second gallery in SHIFT. (Photo by Steven Talley)

Lisa Banner, who joined Walker on stage for his presentation, is a professor at the well-known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Director Dr. Robert La France describes her as, “A scholar and curator of old masters.” Near the end of the event, I was able to interview her about her decision to curate SHIFT. Banner explained to me that she saw a relation between Christopher Smith and Jongil Ma’s work as the work of both speak the same artistic language and share visual similarities. She added Walker into the mix as the three artists focused on architectural structure and linearity.When Banner talks about SHIFT, it’s obvious to me she has great passion and dedication to art.

The work of Ma and Walker both share the interesting element of tension as no adhesive is used in some of their artwork, which Banner said, “Attracts me, so delicate and vulnerable but so convincing all at the same time.”

Pictured left to right: MINUS WITH CLAMPS, 2014, Jongil Ma (Photo by Steven Talley);  Untitled (Stack K), 2010, Corban Walker (Photo by Steven Talley)

Once the presentation concluded, visitors were able to mingle in the Sculpture Court and visit the SHIFT exhibition. Before leaving, Walker voiced his appreciation for all the student helpers that made the exhibition possible. Everyone was also given an opportunity to individually speak with Walker or Banner at this time. People seemed to have a pleasant time during the event. Jongil Ma and Christopher Smith will be here at the David Owsley Museum of Art for their First Person presentation on April 20 and SHIFT will be open through May 7.

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