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Melanie Walker and Todd Walker
Tilt Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

Melanie Walker, “Catalina 1,” 2018, platinum palladium, 11 x 14”, edition 1/10. Courtesy of the artist

Continuing through April 28, 2018

The dual fragility and tenacity of memory is poignantly apparent in Melanie Walker’s “Songs of My Father,” centered on photographic works using archival and experimental processes. The show pairs Walker’s work with that of her father, Todd Walker, who died in 1998, leaving behind a legacy of work in commercial and fine art photography. Late in his career he gravitated toward evocative images of nudes and nature, produced as collotypes. Part of the show is devoted to a selection of his work. One particularly striking image is “High Key Figure” (1988), in which a deliberate deemphasis of tonal variety gives the face and nude torso of the female model an ethereal quality.

Melanie Walker’s work is also enigmatic. Each piece incorporates archival negatives — sometimes quite nondescript — from her father’s vast collection. Thus, in “Wedding 2,” using Todd’s old negatives from a wedding shoot, she hazily portrays a bride and groom cutting the cake. Other works appropriate lingerie, shoe and hosiery ads shot by her father, sometimes placing the images on crackled and brittle mica, Japanese Kozo paper or aluminum. The result is a fragmentation of the images, reflecting how time can compromise photographs, yet intervention can “freeze” them, along with any accompanying memories. Several works focus on upholstered chairs such as one might see in furniture ads. Bereft of occupants, they quietly let absence and presence coexist.

Tilt Gallery

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