A recent quest for color found me on Wendy Walgate’s website, looking at strollers and baskets piled high with colorful ceramic animals.
Turquoise Is Loneliness
Surely I hit the jackpot with this artist’s work and at first I just smiled broadly at the colorful snails and rabbits and elephants and ponies and birds and pigs. . .
Then, as I began to read about Walgate, who has a BFA, MA and MFA, I realized that I had been purposefully pulled in so that she could expose me to her larger message. Brilliant.
Red Rebus Stroller
Child Of A Gentle Mother
Her intent is to create sculptural accumulations of animals that “reflect the culture of acquisition and display of possessions, along with a conscious animal welfare subtext which comments on the care, use and detainment of animals.” She uses more than 75 different plaster animal molds – some new, others old, discarded molds – to slipcast her menagerie.
Each assemblage contains anywhere from fifty to two hundred animals glazed with vivid colors. Walgate places the realistic and cartoon-like animals in familiar childhood objects – old strollers, wagons, carriages and toy boxes – stacking and gluing each collection.
After all of that magnificent color, the piece that struck me the most was Before You Judge Me, pictured below – powerful, true, a message for all of us.
Before You Judge Me
Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
Look within your heart then ask, Have you seen my Childhood?
“Mounded together, having imposed upon them an improbable upward climb over and on top of each other, the animal “objects” settle into a precarious harmony. The use of commercial, ready-made molds to create identical animals over and over again signifies mass production, genetic replication and loss of identity.” Wendy Walgate
Walgate in Branch magazine – her one sentence of advice is a good one.