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Jason Walker

American, b. 1973

Money Tree

Porcelain with underglaze stain
16.25 x 8.375 x 8.375 in. (41.275 x 21.273 x 21.273 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Jason Walker believes it’s time to rethink our perceptions of nature, culture, wilderness, and civilization: behind every technological creation lie unintended consequences that forever change our relationship with each other and to the natural world. Walker’s sculptures are primarily handbuilt, with white porcelain cast elements serving as his canvas. He covers the entire surface of each piece with underglaze, then he scratches into the surface, as he did here. In Money Tree, the fish is covered in patterns; looking closely, you can see that the fish scales are dimes. A scratched rope seems to be strangling a forest creature, and ropes are also strangling trees in a forest. This is a subtle commentary on man’s demolition of nature through the forces of capitalism. Beneath the fish, on the base inside the soft blue-and-white water rings, Walker wrote, “Attention: In order to ensure proper function please place the big fish in this here little pond and hope for no disasters—natural or otherwise—’cause you know the big wigs won’t come to help as they’re all too busy harvesting out in the forest.”

From an early age, Walker knew he wanted to be an artist. To earn money he painted billboards in high school and during his first two years of college. Walker initially majored in illustration, until a chance experience with clay changed his direction. As a BFA student at Utah State (1996) he studied ceramics with John Neely, and as an MFA student at Pennsylvania State University (1999) he studied with Chris Staley and Liz Quackenbush. After a two-year residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, Walker lectured, taught, worked, and exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. He currently resides in Cedar City, Utah, and is lecturer in ceramics at Southern Utah University, along with continuing his extensive studio practice.

Billie Sessions, PhD

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