Image: Ontological Road Map 110810 (partial view; full image below) ©Robert Walden
Each drawing is not only a finished work that represents a place, but it is also a reflection of the hand of the artist, the act of making lines.
BY ROBERT WALDEN
Ontology is a central theme throughout my work because it deals with the nature of existence or being by analyzing concepts about essence, substance, time, location, space, and identity.
My work addresses these ideas by building upon physical, temporal, and literal metaphors that are often used to convey ideas about a process as well as a product.
For instance, each drawing is not only a finished work that represents a place, but it is also a reflection of the hand of the artist, the act of making lines. Each of these drawings involves a labor-intensive process where much time is needed for construction and development.
Once the drawing is complete, it is a picture of time. That is, each drawing reveals the time it takes to make a road map and then each finished drawing actually represents that time. All along, there is a literal play on mapping.
Each drawing represents a process (of mapmaking, of creating roads) and a place (a representation of existence that can be either real or imagined).
Artist’s Gallery RHV Fine Art New York
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Image: Ontological Road Map 123110 (detail) ©Robert Walden
The Magazine of Yoga Six of 1: The Arts Interview
Is being in a flow or a particular kind of space part of creating or part of working for you? Can you describe anything about it – how you get it, what it feels like?
No, not that I am aware of. Your question implies that art is made from some sort of well of personal or cosmic emotion. Expressionistic art may come from some sort of emotional space within the artist, but my work could not be described as expressionistic or emotional…philosophical, perhaps? For me, completing a drawing can be an arduous sometimes tedious task. I make tiny, repetitious lines over and over again and do, at times, reach a meditative-like state while drawing but this is not a space where my work comes from, but rather an effect of making it.
T.S. Eliot famously said, “There is no method except to be very intelligent.”
Yes, no? Maybe so?
Yes…the most intelligent people know when to quit.
Is there some place or attitude you begin from in yourself when you look
at art by other people?
No. But I do “know”, either by sight or feeling, almost instantly, if I am intrigued enough to explore further. This doesn’t mean I am close minded…but discriminating. That said, art worth looking at once is worth looking at and thinking about over and over.
Image: Ontological Road Map 123110 ©Robert Walden
Does anything (consistently/ frequently/ randomly) move you to make art? How did you find yourself making the kind of art or the particular work you are involved in now?
4a Yes and no…as with many artists I think I am compelled to make work. I don’t know why. This compulsion is there and that is all there is to it. When I am not making something I always feel an urge to be doing so.
4b The work I am making now began when I was a kid creating my own city designs both similar and very dissimilar to the aerial photos of Italian hill towns I saw in books or the designs of the utopian Modernists Le Corbusier and others. The work I am currently making looks very different, of course, but my thinking about urban space began when I was very young. After college a friend and fellow artist was visiting my studio and saw a doodle that I had made of a fictitious city map while I was having a conversation earlier that day. He encouraged me to think about that doodle more seriously. So, I did and now 17 years later here I am.
Favorite overheard remark
I can’t say I remember an overheard remark but one of my favorite quotes is from W.C. Fields,
According to you everything I like to do is illegal, immoral or fattening.”
Image: Ontological Road Map 110810 (detail) ©Robert Walden
I’d rather be…
I’d rather be doing absolutely nothing…doing gets in the way of living.
Half a Dozen of One/ Six of the Other
I am partial to neither…or maybe both…but either way it is all the same to me…but, then again…I could be wrong?
Six words my gallerist/ artist’s statement/ mother use to describe my work:
From my artist statement: Essence, substance, time, location, space, and identity
Six words my best friend would use to describe me:
Gentleman, Idealistic, Generous, Kind, Forgiving, Funny
Six words to repeat:
Consistency, consistency, consistency, consistency, consistency, consistency
Six words to ignore:
avant-garde, trend, fad, success, wealth and greed
Six artists to look at:
Robert Smithson, Le Corbusier, Erik Satie, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Rogier van der Weyden, Tara Donovan
Six places to find yourself in:
Amsterdam, Lisbon, wilderness, NYC, London and a secluded beach
Image: Ontological Road Map 110810 ©Robert Walden