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Bill Walton Exhibition

September 22, 2014

A key figure in the Philadelphia art community for nearly 50 years, Bill Walton was beloved and respected as an artist, teacher and friend in this region and beyond. When he died in early 2010, he left behind a dedicated group of artists to whom he had gifted, traded, or bequeathed his work. Now, Drexel’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery will display these works for the first time in the exhibition Bill Walton; artist to artist, from October 9 to December 5. An opening reception, which is free to the public, will take place on Thursday, October 9 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert Street).

“It would not be a stretch to say that Bill Walton; artist to artist is a show of his own work curated by himself,” said Pearlstein Gallery director Orlando Pelliccia. “The body of work shown here is important because it represents Walton’s personal consideration and respect for the artists chosen to receive it.” The Gallery has been fortunate that many of his recipients have generously shared his work for this exhibit.

Walton’s hand-size wall assemblages and slightly larger floor works approach a minimalist aesthetic. With a sensitivity to texture, weight and color, they combine found and manipulated materials that are wittily assembled, meticulously crafted, and often tenuously balanced. “His perfect matings of forms and materials seem driven by a desire to achieve something that seems at once eternal and strikingly immediate and, either way, outside of time,” said a New York Times writer in a review of the artist’s work.

Walton, who taught at Drexel from 1972-74, taught printmaking for many years at Moore College of Art. His work has been exhibited at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Art, The ICA in Philadelphia, White Box Gallery, NYC, Margaret Thatcher Projects, NYC, Locks Gallery, Phila., Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Phila., and many others. The Walton Estate is managed by Fleisher-Ollman Gallery.

Over the course of his career Walton became disenchanted with the commercial commodification of art.
“He understood that significant art came from work done in the studio rather than by working the marketplace; that studio work is a dreamland where everything works miraculously until it doesn’t,” Pelliccia said. “For Walton the insightful judges of art are the people who live that creative experience every day; it was to those people that he turned to discuss his work and with whom he shared it.”

Click here for more information about Bill Walton and the Gallery’s hours.