Unexpected Juxtaposition: Rex Prescott Walden

 

Rex Prescott Walden is an American assemblage artist and painter. Educated at the University of Denver and Wesleyan University, Walden’s neat, architectural work is defined by precision and intention, influenced by a Formalist view.

Unexpected Juxtaposition explores the artist’s philosophy surrounding the creation of art. To him, art is a series of highs and lows -- emotionally, physically, and creatively. The high is something that is searched for and chased after, as it enables the painter to continue to do his work regardless of material success or reinforcement. The lows come at those moments of introspection and doubt, challenging the artist to create something that is new and different and ready for the world. As Walden describes it, “There is nothing more beautiful, or frightening, than the minimal perfection of a white canvas. Each mark one makes is a risk... The elusive -- and sometimes forgiving -- attributes of any medium coax me to continue. Keeping paint friendly is my goal, as I know it can turn on me at any moment.”

To further articulate this ebb and flow of creation, Walden's work collages together items that represent both a literal and spiritual journey. By applying navigational charts in his pieces, he guides the viewer on a voyage across abstract landscapes. To understand the intended destination, one must look for a reference to a place or a degree of longitude and latitude within the plane of the artwork. Allusions to measurement help to mark the steps of the voyage, while found objects evoke memories of past experience. Throughout the collection, there is a tension between texture and design. The use of repeated forms help to provide a sense of rhythm in the work, to move the eye across the composition.

The most obvious measure of influence in Walden's work is the sea. Through charts, instruments, color and form, it is an ever-present player in his narrative, at once vocal and silent. The sea’s ever-changing and arcane nature, along with its inherent strength and calm, are essential to the artist’s use of abstraction. It is intentional, therefore, that the viewer encounter each work in new ways at every viewing, keeping the work constantly changing and alive.

Rex Prescott Walden currently lives and works in Guilford, CT. For twenty years, he was an instructor in the Fine Arts department at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT. During that time, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach art in Salford, England. Walden was also a fellow at the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME. The artist has exhibited extensively, and has work that hangs in the permanent collections of The New Haven Paint and Clay, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital, the Lankenau Medical Center of Philadelphia, and the Emerson Resort and Spa in New York.