John Walker: I Feel You

Light and Forms, by John Walker (courtesy of Nielsen Gallery)

One of Boston’s best galleries, the Nielsen Gallery on Newbury Street, recently featured a retrospective of the work of Boston painter John Walker. Born in England and now director of the graduate school of painting at Boston University, Walker is a major force field in the painting space of New England.

I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. But this show had paintings on display that were so overwhelming I could barely keep myself upright. Every once in a while that happens, coming upon work so powerful and exquisite that it physically hurts to look at it and be with it. This intense somatic reaction sometimes knocks me out of my equilibrium for days.

Walker is a painter’s painter. His strokes are wet and lush, earthy and sensuous. Color and image are bold, risky, wild. They pulsate. His hand has mastered invitationality, the irresistible “climb in here” energy.

Boston Globe art critic Cate McQuaid began her review of the show with these words:

There’s something Shakespearean about John Walker’s paintings. His forms create a restless, driving poetry.

His paint reads as an essential force of life. Big canvases squirm with hurt and wrestle with pride. Their brooding expressionism shimmers between abstraction and representation.

Yes, yes, and more.

4 Replies to “John Walker: I Feel You”

  1. Deborah – I checked the Neilson Gallery site. Thanks for providing the link, I have marked it as one of my favourites. John Walker does wonders with keeping a viewer inside each painting – he absolutely traps the eye with how he uses space with lush passages, the marvelllous visceral manner of painting. I think I could live with many of his works for a long time and be freshly taken up at each looking. G

  2. I was just curious what your views were on the Yale student’s “shock art” with the faux abortions?

    I read that story yesterday an I still don’t know what to make of it.

  3. I love the painting of his that you included in the post. I would love to see his work in person. Scale must make it all the more intense.

  4. […] a retrospective of the work of Boston painter John Walker. Born in England and now director of th Walk In The Dark All About JazzNew York-born, Seattle-based keyboardist/composer Wayne Horvitz […]

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