Thursday, April 21, 2011

Larry Walker Artshare An Article by Flora Rosefsky

GA State University Professor of Art -Critique & Discussion
Sycamore Place Gallery & Studios – Decatur, GA – April 12, 2011

24 hours. The time it took ten members to answer an Email about signing up for an “Art Share with GA State University art professor, Larry Walker, who would conduct ten minute critiques . Seven more members formed a waiting list while several other members signed up to be “observers”. This unprecedented strong response manifested the high interest for this type of WCA-GA program. Larry Walker, a well respected artist and teacher in the Atlanta community, first spoke about the importance of a “dialogue generated when you work…based on lines, rhythmns, shapes, colors that you’ve learned over the years. The dialogue continues.” When left alone, he reminded us how “you sign your name, you walk away – it’s your completed piece and the piece has made a statement”. Walker emphasized how the work can start to “talk to the viewer – it has its own sense of life – come and listen. Respond to me with new dialogue.” He feels one doesn’t need the author or artist. He admitted that his comments would be “his reaction” to the work which may “trigger an idea”, perhaps giving those whose work was being critiqued something to think about.
All the members and a few guests at the Art Share agreed that Professor Walker’s comments offered thought provoking comments whether or not one’s work was being critiqued. Each artist being critiqued put up two works on one of Sycamore Place Gallery’s white empty walls where Walker took the first few minutes to closely examine the work; in some cases you could see the professor of art carefully looking meticulously at brush strokes or how a particular color repeated or did not repeat itself. It was almost as if Walker brought along a personal magnifying glass to help him make his astute observations.
Shape identity, a sense of rhythm and movement, lines under the surface, expanding a color range, moving around in and out of space, gestures and brushstrokes, increasing scale, figurative elements that may need more form, when to and not to repeat colors or lines, skilled drawing – but do something more with it… a sampling of Walker’s points that he made during the critique process . Being the experienced teacher, he encouraged artists to go in “good directions” while at the same time to be critical when needed, offering suggestions for change or to think about one’s work with a new perspective. Artists need to talk to each other, to continue this type of critical dialogue in their own studios or places beyond the formal critique session.
In a Q& A following the formal part of the critique session, Walker made a point about not caring much about the message, a title, or what the artist had in mind when creating the work – as the art itself had to stand on its own first as a work of art. Words or commentary are secondary. He admitted that in today’s world of museums, galleries, and exhibitions that artist statements, wall text, and museum show headsets often distract what viewers need to see for themselves .  Does the text cut off the dialogue? Maybe.  In my opinion, as a compromise, perhaps the viewer needs to start the dialogue in examining the work before reading the wall text or statements.  Both interpretations can be correct as each person brings their own experience to what they see. 
The popular WCA-GA Art Share program, coordinated by Susan Ker-Seymer, is one educational benefit to members and the community.  Future art shares may invite more outside reviewers representing other visual art disciplines to share their expertise. For more information about the Art Share program and the Women’s Caucus for Art – GA chapter,

Written By Flora Rosefsky


  1. Flora, thanks for your description of the artshare. I really got a sense of the evening.

  2. An excellent piece, Flora. You caught the essence of Larry Walker's comments and did a great job of summarizing them. I left with mixed feeling about the artist's comments, but that is probably a healthy reaction. He concentrated on color and composition. My personal position is that soul is the element that overrides the technical side of any creation. There are many talented people who are mechanically skilled, but their work is still missing that extra something -- and that is what I believe determines greatness.

  3. Loretta makes some excellent points - giving pause for those being critiqued as well for those listening to one voice giving suggestions or opinions. Because artists most often work alone in their studios, without much interaction other than listening to NPR radio or perhaps a favorite CD, most would probably agree with Larry Walker about the importance of continuing the conversation or dialogue about art, with what we are creating, with our colleagues and others... to respond in our own way with our eyes as guides, and for me, also with our hearts.

    from Flora Rosefsky