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MSVU Collection

¤ Peter Walker

Date of Work
¤ c. 1990

Accession Year
¤ 1998

Accession Number
¤ 1998.8

¤ In storage

¤ Sculpture / Installation

Home » MSVU Collection » Peter Walker: Untitled (canoe)

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Peter Walker: Untitled (canoe)

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Peter Walker
(b. 1945 London, England; lives in Bayswater, NS)

Untitled (canoe) 1990-93
flame-cut steel base, cedar canoe, white pine spar
274.3 x 487.7 x 121.9 cm
Gift of the artist, 1998
Mount Saint Vincent University Collection

In the course of his 30-year career as an artist, Walker has supported himself as an art instructor, farmhand, fisherman, graphic designer, and designer of children’s playgrounds.

These sculptures are built of Nova Scotia pine that was first deformed by weevils, then shaped by Walker with a chainsaw. The steel was salvaged from Halifax shipyard scrap. Of his work, Walker says “the construction of this work began without a direction. As I brought steel back to my studio I would lay new pieces out on the ground, configure and reconfigure them until patterns and relationships emerged. I used very little new steel but preferred metal that already had a life and a story. This sculpture, like much of my other sculpture, is anthropomorphic though this series has developed malevolent and grotesque qualities.”

This analysis is seconded by Ingrid Jenkner in her catalogue essay for Flagmen of the Apocalypse, in which she also comments on the religious and art-historical implications of Walker’s sculptures, saying his “anthropomorphic welded sculptural compositions, his use of found machine components, and the resulting vehicular-testicular iconographies, amplify and restage the phallic-totemic oeuvre of the late David Smith. Second Coming: With Walker’s burlesque on the demise of phallocracy, Surrealism, the disclaimed sub-history of high modernism, will return with a vengeance. Judgment: “Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all.” (André Breton, L’Amour fou) Is this a postmodern statement? Decide.”

Walker studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1969.


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