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Evelyn Walker



MFA 2018

Before his role on the Andy Griffith Show, actor Don Knotts had a ventriloquist act with a dummy named Danny "Hooch" Matador. Knotts confessed in an interview that he had grown tired of playing “straight man for a hunk of wood”. Knotts threw the dummy overboard into the seas of the South Pacific.

Central to the work that I’ve described above--best described as a series of collectively improvised actions influenced by various made and found objects--is a fascination with the power of unseen forces that move through us, shaping the work at the same time that they shape the artist: history, the subconscious, chaos, order, stories, identity, and timing. Don Knotts is not the only puppeteer to have murdered an object, and I wonder what it means to have such intimacy with “a hunk of wood”. I have felt that it’s something like a kid striking a match: curiosity, joy, and then a mix of horror and power at once. I might describe my art practice with the word puppeteering, although I understand the word as broadly as possible. It is a collaboration and response to objects, and a negotiation of the spaces between life, agency, and identity.