House + Wife Revisited
presents Evelyn Davis-Walker's
assemblage installation, which converts the gallery into a 1940s Sears and Roebuck home, replete with period objects that critically explore 1930-1959 advertisement imagery.
December 5, 2018 (WESTON, MA) – The Cambridge School of Weston is pleased to present Evelyn Davis-Walker—House + Wife Revisited,on exhibit December 17, 2018 through March 15, 2019 in the school’s Thompson Gallery, located in the atrium of the Garthwaite Center for Science and Art.
The second show in the Circulus Retro(Circle Back) exhibition series presents Evelyn Davis-Walker's assisted readymades installation, which converts the Thompson Gallery into a 1940s home, replete with period objects littered with collages that critically explore advertisement imagery. “My work is predicated on images that were created for the people of the 1940s, 50s and 60s,” the artist said. The second show in the Circulus Retroexhibition series, presents Evelyn Davis-Walker'sinstallation of assisted readymades, which converts the Thompson Gallery into a 1940s home, replete with period objects and collages that critically explore era advertisement imagery.
Utilizing various industrial decaling techniques, Davis-Walker creates collages on top of consumer goods that literally reunite message with object. Trained in the graphic arts, Davis-Walker re-focused her area of expertise, turning it upon itself in order to examine the impact of the message in the medium. In her House + Wife Revisitedseries, Davis-Walker collected and combinedhousehold objects and advertisements between the decades of 1940s -1960s. Through her retrospection, she amassed a collection of distinctly American things and ephemera that targeted “women in the home” over half a century ago.“It feels as if I am able to speak through the artwork with information and aspects of today’s society that really wasn’t talked about so many years ago. It was visually shown, but it wasn’t acceptable as a society to address, and so for me I feel as if I am 60+ years late, if you will, with bringing these up to have a conversation,” Davis-Walker explained.
“For the artist, it was not enough to make a body of collaged sculptures,” curator Todd Bartel noted. “Davis-Walker orchestrated the ensemble of works into an installation that sets her sculptures and collages into a period specific architectural setting.” On the floor of the Thompson Gallery, a 1940s House-of-the-Month layout (architectural plan) from the Monthly Small House Club is taped out onto the floor and visitors literally walk from room to room to encounter objects associated with each living space, “allowing visitors to place themselves into the world of yesteryear,” he said.
Evelyn Davis-Walker’s fine artwork is inspired by her career in graphic design. Davis-Walker studied Visual Communication and Computer Art at Otterbein University, earning a B.A. in 2000 and an M.F.A in Advertising Design at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2007. She began her teaching career as a graphic design professor at Virginia State University before coming back to Otterbein to teach Communication Design and Art Foundations for eight years. In 2016, Evelyn moved to South Georgia, where she currently oversees the Graphic Design area of Valdosta State University’s Art & Design department. She has received numerous awards and has been exhibited widely in solo, group, and juried exhibitions inArizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Evelyn’s work is part of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and private collections around the U.S.
Davis-Walker says her approach to artmaking “has a strong affinity for all things paper—from collage, to creating typographical prints on a letterpress machine.” She uses retro advertising design and popular culture of the past to create intriguing mixed media pieces. Gallery Director Bartel notes, “as a graphic designer and fine artist, she uses the language of advertising copy in her artwork to instigate conversations and construct new contexts.The sculptures on display inHouse + Wife Revisited are in the lineage of conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp’s readymades—quotidian objects not considered art that the artist did not make, such as an iron or a sink.Davis-Walker’s pieces are assisted-readymades, because she altered them with collage elements, which change the way you think about the object.”Davis-Walker points out that she is “trying to remind the current generation of issues and solutions that have been addressed and achieved but that have also been lost. Sometimes it is helpful to look back and say, ‘Okay how far have we come and how far do we still need to go?’”
Bartel suggests, “House + Wife Revisitedraises questions like: How does consumerist imagery work upon the psyche of an individual or a particular group of people? Can we recognize in our current culture of consumerism, attitudes that may fall out of favor in the following decades Evelyn Davis-Walker exhibits a body of work pondering such questions.”
During her residency at The Cambridge School of Weston in late February, Davis-Walker will work with students at the school to produce three works for the exhibition. A 1950s stove (“Amy’s Stove”), a pedestal sink (“Abby’s Sink”), and a refrigerator (“Libba’s Fridge”) will be transformed specifically for the show at the Thompson Gallery. “The titles of Davis-Walkers sculptures include first names as a way of personalizing the relationship between the ads that adorn the objects and the would-be people who owned and used such products,” Bartel says.