Arkansas Arts Center

Little Rock, AR



Drawn from My Soul: The Art of J. Michael Walker


"Drawn from My Soul: The Art of J. Michael Walker" will be on display through October 1, 2000, in the Strauss Gallery of the Arkansas Arts Center. This exhibition features more than a dozen of Walker's large-scale religion inspired works, most of which are drawn with colored pencils.

Born and raised in Little Rock, Walker has lived in Los Angeles and Mexico for the past 25 years. Walker, a self-taught artist, explores the spirituality and diverse aspects of Latin American and Mexican cultures. Much of Walker's recent work depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's most sacred icon. He often portrays the Virgin Mary as a strong, living mother engaged in the daily tasks of rural life.

"The idea is to modernize the highly respected images and themes of the Virgin Mary," says Walker. "This series of works grew out of my immersion into Mexican rural, lower-class culture where there is a sense of ease in the way people approach the holy powers." In 1974, Walker moved to Chihuahua, Mexico where he said that he married into the culture. "I underwent a transformation that was both spiritual and cultural and began producing artwork that was reflective of my new reality."

Walker has participated in over 75 group exhibitions in galleries and museums across the United States and in Mexico; and has enjoyed several solo exhibitions of his work, including, most notably: the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, in Mexico City in 1997; and Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, in 1998. Selected pieces from this exhibition will be for sale.

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