Friday, January 25, 2013

On View in the Art Gallery: Jay Walker

“What is our relationship with Mystery? Do we ignore, indulge, or succumb to its daily presence in our lives?” – Jay Walker

The Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts kicked off its spring exhibit schedule this past Saturday with a new show by Philadelphia artist Jay Walker. The exhibit, From my book: Installations by Jay Walker, features large-scale interpretations of the Theotokos figure (the Greek title for Mary, mother of Jesus, especially in eastern Christian traditions), using nothing but tape and cut vinyl. You can view the exhibit in Barrington through February 16, 2013.

As the title indicates, all of the installations, which cover nearly every inch of the Gallery walls, started as rough drawings found in Jay’s sketchbooks. “In the sketchbook, it has always been my inspiration to work quickly and intuitively…These works began in that place,” Jay explains. This mindset drove the installation process itself, as Jay worked in the Barrington galleries day and night for a full week before the opening.

However, Jay didn’t complete the installation entirely by himself; he was assisted by three Gordon art majors, who returned early from winter break to join in the work. Walker wanted the installation to be a true collaboration with both the space and the students who occupy Barrington. Michela Kendrick-Tedesco ’13, Becky Orcutt ’16 and Damaris Gibaldi ’16 jumped at the opportunity to work on the artist's sprawling creation.

Throughout the installation week, Jay and the students explored the themes of devotion, church history, and the incarnation. In particular, they attempted to “take the relationship aspect of the incarnation and wrestle with it.” The four pieces depict a series of mysterious incarnational connections between the presence of the human figure and the divine.

Bruce Herman, Gallery Director, commented that one of the figures especially—"Theotokos XXVI: Devotion"—struck him as “stunningly beautiful,” adding, “It feels like something very precious, like platinum, or spun glass, or gossamer… and it’s just plain old packaging tape.”

Bruce went on to say that this contrast is what makes Jay’s work so successful: his pieces manage to “overcome the ordinariness of a material and have it be transfigured into something transcendent.”

From my book: Installations by Jay Walker will be on view through Saturday, February 16th. The Gallery is open Monday–Saturday, 9 am–7 pm. You can learn more about the exhibit at

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