David Walters

the other side of the looking glass


The imagery in my work is often drawn from fairytales and children's stories. My favorite stories, and the ones I use most often in my work, usually have a dark and cautionary tone. They were meant as tools to inform behavior and demonstrate some lesson on morality and the consequence of our actions. The challenges and struggles of our lives today are much the same as they were in the Grimm's brother's time. The subjects have evolved, but the moral of the story is the same and the antagonists are equally formidable.


What has changed is our relationship to life's difficulties. Our modern society's effort to push a low impact way of life, free of worry and protected from despair with insurances against the unknown, we've increasingly insulated ourselves from actual living. I see the glorification of desire and instant gratification as being responsible for this disturbing trend. Desire, to me, is "the monster under the bed". It manifests itself as a little voice in our heads and operates discreetly, slowly unhinging our moral compass and appealing to our lesser selves in the form of lust and fear.


In The Other Side of the Looking Glass, I've introduced traditional characters, such as Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio, to symbols from current events to illustrate how wide-scale the damage to our world has been as a result of a self-serving lifestyle. Works from the Toy Car series tell a story about desire and pursuit of an idea without regard for fallout. They represent our tendency to sell out the experience of living in the now in exchange for the promise of better things to come, forever chasing a fantasy and moving us further down the path to ruin. The Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter panels chronicle the seasons of life, layering technology and achievement over the dependability of the natural world, thus reflecting the notion that we are culturally and collectively numbing our sense of connectedness to each other and the world we depend on.


The show overall refers to the idea of perspective and how it frames the world we allow ourselves to see. I created these objects not just as an indictment of a culture of convenience, but also in recognition of our potential to be greater than the sum of our parts and more than we imagine ourselves capable. The stories are meant to connect us to our humanity and to encourage viewers to provide their own conclusions to whatever question or riddle the work may provoke in them.


< Back