Corban Walker at Crawford Art Gallery

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For the exhibition “As Far as I Can See,” Corban Walker stripped the Crawford Art Gallery’s permanent collection from its main three rooms, whose walls he painted a neutral off-white. Within this denuded interior architecture, Walker arranged four freestanding sculptures ranging in size from relatively modest to the dominant Observation, 2012. The latter was accompanied by Beyond the Rail I–IX, 2022, a series of mirrors buttressing the venue’s low-slung panels and railings. Overseeing this blurring of exhibition and installation was TV Man, 2010-2022, a video portrait of the artist encased in a box frame that emphasized his diminutive size (Walker is four feet tall).

Through these gestures, the artist essentially subverts the staid salon ambience of the nineteenth-century interior. Walker’s interest in scale, perception, and orientation and his subtle rerouting of attention to the intersections of space, movement, and viewpoint radically challenge conditioned responses to conventional museum displays. The sculptures are assembled from either glass or an amber-hued acrylic that echoes the color of the floorboards, and their unobtrusive, translucent quality gently guide visitors around the space, inviting them to look with and through their sharp perspectival angles.

In a side gallery, Walker curated a selection from the collection, installed at the artist’s sight line. A number of portrait busts by the late Seamus Murphy are positioned to face the surrounding plaza, acutely framing how art can orchestrate the act of its own viewing.

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