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October 2011

Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC, Offers Works by Mary Walker

Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC, will present the exhibit, Dreams and Nightmares, featuring new works by Mary Walker, on view from Oct. 4 - 31, 2011. A reception will be held on Oct. 7, from 5-8pm, in conjunction with the French Quarter Gallery Association fall artwalk.

Series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep and those that turn frightening or unpleasant are “such stuff as dreams are made on.” Nightmares are those dreams that have turned towards disturbing, uncomfortable imagery and sensations. The unconscious mind puts characters together and sets a theater stage where the bits and pieces of one’s life experiences come together in odd ways and bizarre juxtapositions occur.

In these new paintings, Walker puts images from her ballad series together with some of her favorite characters – Pinocchio, her dancers, figures from New Mexican petroglyphes and her more recent harpies. Harpies are the winged beast, with the head and breasts of a woman but the body of a bird of Greek mythology. They are considered to be noisy, filthy and hungry whereas dear Italian Pinocchio was of good intention but always led astray.

Nightmares were occurring to the artist and she decided that painting was a way to “get them out.” These paintings are simple, immediate, potent, sometimes with sketchy images all very reminiscent of a dream. Odd pieces, historic bits and pieces stories that build upon stories, some being scary some being humorous are all part of these works.

Is it a glimpse into the artist’s psyche? Is it just snippets of images from her past works coming to her “sleeping” mind? At different times in our lives, during transitions, times of great turmoil around us and even in times of prolific creative production we seem to have increased dream lives. The dreams (or nightmares) provide guidance perhaps or a dumping ground for our worries. Or maybe they only provide fodder for the artist’s studio time.

If we study the unsettling times around us, bringing life issues of stability into play, it makes sense that the dream world would address these circumstances using images familiar to the dreamer. Walker’s images of the stranger returning, the elongated figures like teeth on a stick from the petroglyphes out west, Pinocchio with the lessons learned and taught, although often scary and odd on backgrounds of “danger” yellow with dark shadows and missing limbs are disturbing but not horrifying. The whimsical nature of Walker’s work is still present but with an intensity. The mixing of nightmares with dreams perhaps indicates that the seesaw of life is seeking to create balance in this crazy, topsy turvy world.

Mary Walker settled in Charleston after a time studying in New York at the Art Students’ League. She was raised in North Carolina but attended high school in Charleston. She taught math early on but has been focused on her artwork for over 34 years. In 2011, Walker had prints in the New York International Print show and the Reconsidering Regionalism at the Jule Colins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. She has received many artists’ residencies and grants for printmaking.

Walker had an artist’s book in the Italian 2008 Libro (di sé) 9a Rassegna Internazionale di Libro d’Artista in Rome. She taught workshops at the Redux Art Center and at the Bascom Center in North Carolina. She accepted a Margo-Gelb Dune Shack residency in Provincetown, MA, in 2007 and was the 2006 winner of the Griffith Lowcountry Artist’s Award. The award resulted in a solo show at City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston which then led to her being chosen as the poster artist for the Piccolo Spoleto program “Opera is for Everyone.”

Walker has received several grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program. In 2004, she organized “The Scrolls,” an anti-war project involving both national and international artists that has been exhibited in Charleston, Cincinnati and Washington, DC. Her work is included in the Medical University of South Carolina new Contemporary Carolina Collection hanging in the Ashley River Tower.

Corrigan Gallery, now entering its seventh year, is a culmination of 23 years of experience in the Charleston art market. The gallery represents more than a dozen artists in an intimate space and presents 6 to 10 shows per year with the gallery being refreshed every month. The gallery is a member and active participant of the Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Association. Other gallery artists include Manning Williams, Duke Hagerty, Kristi Ryba, Sue Simons Wallace, Gordon Nicholson, John Moore, William Meisburger, Lynne Riding, Lese Corrigan, Paul Mardikian and John Hull. Visiting artists are included in the yearly roster with most of the artists being either Charleston natives or individuals living in Charleston. A gallery of contemporary works exploring the depth and intellect behind the drive to create, Corrigan Gallery provides a breathing space around the historic city’s traditional bent.

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 843/722-9868 or visit (


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