Sarah Walker
Toposphere I
acrylic on paper on aluminum
22" x 23"

Painter's eye ponders science in particles and whorls
Kenneth Baker
Saturday, April 9, 2005

Many artists who work in static media struggle to find means to evoke the interpenetrating systems that touch or even determine our lives daily.

New York painter Sarah Walker has come as close to doing this as anyone, or so the selection of her work at Gregory Lind suggests.

Walker's acrylic on paper "Toposphere I" (2004) looks like something worked up on a computer: perhaps a merger of meteorological data, satellite imagery and astronomical photograph. But Walker has concocted the whole thing from scratch, a dizzyingly detailed collision of brightly hued patterns.

She has titled several pieces "Attractors," after the term for geometric description of how chaotic systems behave, but her images resemble scientific illustration about as closely as pictorial realism conforms to our vague notions of unfiltered visual perception.

Walker shows that large scale, such as we see in the work of Julie Mehretu, an artist of similar ambitions, may matter little to our sense of an image's pertinence to a world where computerized data-analysis is rapidly replacing human witness.

Walker's best pieces produce a sensation exactly opposite to a traditional picture: the feeling of not knowing where consciousness belongs in the reality evoked. They might not succeed in this so well did she not execute them by hand.