Figures Emerge Slowly From Agnes Walden’s Art

April 3, 2024
Artist News, Fellowship
Paintings that blur the boundaries between people and their environment
Fragment of a Plan for a Fountain. Photo: Agnes Walden

Provincetown, MA

Agnes Walden is a teacher, but her paintings won’t teach you a thing. She speaks lucidly about painting with the off-the-cuff exactitude of an expert, but her paintings are inscrutable.

That is unless you linger, wait, and put in a little work. Then, you haven’t been taught something by her — you’ve taught yourself. Walden will supply the art; the interpretation is on you. Or, as she puts it, “I want the viewer to have to cut into their food.”

Walden’s paintings are like Rorschach tests. Figures aren’t depicted; they emerge slowly. Background becomes foreground. Different viewers see very different things.

In Walden’s Fragment of a Plan for a Fountain, a woman, her hair cascading down and her breasts erect, leans against the rim of a pool of water. Look closer, and she’s not the only one; there are one, two, three, four more women. They lean and stretch and balance on one foot. Each one seems simultaneously to be up to no good and to be doing nothing much at all.

Read the full article in The Provincetown Independent here.

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