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Austin Museum of Art Kicks Off New Works Project Space with Jade Walker
Jade Walker, "Spectator Sport", 2009. Mixed media. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

AUSTIN, TX.- Austin Museum of Art inaugurates a new project space with "New Works: Jade Walker". Austin artist Jade Walker transforms fabric and found objects into abstract forms that evoke the human body. Her installation at AMOA, opening to the public on November 21, 2009, explores ideas about sports, gender, pain, and power.

Jade Walker earned her MFA at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, where she directs the soon-to-be constructed Visual Art Center and teaches sculpture. She has exhibited her work in solo and group gallery exhibitions in the American South, Mexico, and Taiwan. The 2009 Texas Biennial group exhibition presented her large abstracted figure sculptures. "New Works: Jade Walker" marks the artist’s first solo museum project. Walker challenged herself to create a room-size installation. Inspired by Michael Sokolove’s recent book 'Warrior Girls', which discusses the bias between young male and female athletes, the artist considers competition and injury in sports-related activities.

With her installation "Spectator Sport" (2009) Jade Walker transforms the museum gallery space into a vibrant sporting arena covered with orange artificial turf and fleshcolored paint. Over forty diverse, abstract sculptures representing fans and sidelined players take their seats on bleachers draped in pleated, red fabric. The artist creates ambiguous sculptural objects by combining sporting equipment, like hand weights, deflated balls, and boxing gloves, with textured fabrics, plastics, and fur. Her technique of wrapping and cinching found objects with foam cushions and elastic braces creates a protective appearance.

Walker pulls color from 1960s health-related books and bandages, shapes from 1900s anatomy texts, and needlework and pleating from craft and high fashion. "Spectator Sport" at once celebrates the powerful drive of competition while evoking the fragility of the human body. AMOA Assistant Curator Andrea Mellard asserts, “Surrealism, ambiguity, and empathy mark Jade Walker’s installation. Her sculptures are beautiful and bizarre, abstract and anthropomorphic, masculine and feminine, competitive and inert.”

The "New Works" series introduces fresh and contemporary art by innovative local artists. This ongoing quarterly series debuts art in diverse media, with an emphasis on work made by artists taking steps forward in new directions. Dana Friis-Hansen, AMOA Executive Director and Chief Curator, explains, “We are excited to build on the success of AMOA’s ongoing New Art in Austin triennial, by showcasing a body of work by artists who have emerged into artistic maturity. "New Works" will give visitors access to a greater variety of artworks and experiences.”

Austin Museum of Art | Jade Walker | Dana Friis-Hansen |

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