In a letter addressing his linoleum prints, Walter Anderson writes that his work is a reaction against the atom bomb. According to Anderson, stories and art have offered humanity a way of creating – not destroying – life. Walter Anderson carved his linoleum blocks during the 1940’s while he was living at Oldfields, his wife’s family home in Gautier, Mississippi. He transformed the attic of the house into his studio, carving his fantastical images into battleship linoleum in sweeping lines and bold forms. His large scale linoleum block carvings directly correspond to the period when Allied forces dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan to effectively end World War II. These traumatic world events and Anderson’s artwork were intimately linked for the artist – creation and inspiration versus destruction and annihilation.
On display at WAMA from September 17, 2017 through January 29, 2018
Opening Reception: September 28th from 6-8pm
The Little Room served as Walter Anderson's sanctuary on the mainland during the latter years of his life. When he could, Anderson would spend his time on Horn Island, but he still had obligations on the mainland. To mentally transport himself to Horn Island, Walter Anderson painted the Little Room to portray a day on the island. He never allowed anyone but himself, some cats, and the occasional possum to enter the room. After his death in 1965, Walter's wife opened the door to the Little Room and found this spectacular mural. Covering the floor were thousands of paintings and drawings, some of which he had attempted to destroy in the fireplace and some he had carefully selected and stored in a chest in the corner. When you enter the little room, appreciate the genius of the artist and one man's journey to find peace with the world around him.
Of all the creatures that inhabit the earth, none have inspired artistic contemplation as much as the cat. Walter Anderson found wild and domesticated cats to be able and willing subjects for his artwork. He painted, sculpted, drew, and carved the image of cats throughout his life. This exhibition is dedicated to Walter’s love of cats and their constant, often humorous, presence in his artwork.