Artist Interview: Redd Walitzki

by Kim Larson October 03, 2015

We are excited to welcome Redd Walitzki's return to the gallery this month with her latest series, 'Exquisite Corpse'. These new paintings explore the relationship between entropy and new growth all with Walitzki's signature laser-cut panels and flawless technique. All images courtesy of the artist. 

ME: How would you sum up the theme of your exhibition?

RW: The theme of this exhibition deals with the natural cycles of decay, and the surprising beauty that arises from it. I was originally inspired by the Surrealist parlor-game "Exquisite Corpse,” where artists collectively assemble a composition from the same point of origin. My sister (and frequent collaborator) Roxanna and I wanted to combine our pursuits of art and music into a project together. We wanted to pair the visual elements I’m exploring with songs that depict similar scenes, and this back and forth dialogue shaped the work in this series. The theme grew especially from the Surrealist nonsense-phrase that the game is named after, “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.” 

While beginning the series, I discovered a Greek/Roman myth about Chloris, the Goddess of Flowers and Spring. Wandering through the forest, Chloris stumbles upon the lifeless body of a woodland nymph. Saddened by the innocent creature’s fate, Chloris breathes new life into her, transforming the nymph’s body into a flower. This tale was the perfect genesis for the beautiful, yet slightly macabre, pieces I wanted to create, and became the jumping off point for this group of paintings. 


ME: How would you describe the aesthetic of your new artwork? 

RW: The aesthetic is a lush, opulent, organic, baroque celebration of nature. It translates some of my love of beautiful things and high-fashion concepts into a more natural setting, where berries take the role of pearls, and flowers glitter with dew. But there is a darker side to it as well, and many of the pieces deal with death, and the transformation of decaying things into new life. 

ME: How are these works different in terms of style and application than previous works?

RW: This body of work is in a much darker color palette than most of my previous work. I was in love with the visual of the woods at night, and creatures caught in the beam of a flashlight. They are also some of the first pieces in a long time that feature more complex backgrounds (usually my backgrounds are totally abstract watercolor patterns) but I wanted these paintings to be a little more grounded in reality. Painting all that foliage and moss was really crazy! 

Part of the initial concept was that all of the cut pieces hung together create one massive coherent image. Like reality has fractured at the seams, and you’re looking at it as a whole, and also as individual little slivers. Hopefully that all pulls together in the installation in the way I’m picturing! 


ME: Do you have a favorite piece in the show, or one that was particularly challenging to work on, and why?

RW: The starting point of this show was the title piece, and it really made me push all of my boundaries. This was a sketch that sprung up in my sketchbook a few years ago, which eventually took root and begged to be painted. But my skill level had to catch up to the demands of the piece, its very technically challenging in a lot of areas.  Larger scale works are always amazing, but also physically demanding, and there’s so much texture and complexity in the piece that it really forced me to work at a high level. The collaborations between Roxanna and I are always really significant, and this may be my favorite yet! 

Original Sketch: 

ME: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

RW: I think a lot of my personality comes across in what I post online, but sometimes in real life I’m a little sillier than people might expect! I have a huge collection of Squishables (cute pillows shaped like donuts and jellyfish) that I like to collapse into after a long painting session, while wearing a stylish sloth onesie of course! ;) 

ME: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for other artists?

RW: Just keep working! Especially on those days where it feels a little futile, or you’re discouraged seeing all the incredible things other people are making, really all you can do is put your head down and keep going. Sometimes we all need to turn the internet off, and really get into what were working on. That’s when I remember why I love doing this - those moments where the paint is all there is.  

Exquisite Corpse opens October 10, 2015 at Modern Eden.
You can find more info about the exhibition HERE.
Kim Larson
Kim Larson

Kim Larson is the Gallery Director and Co-Owner at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco's historic North Beach neighborhood. Opened in June 2010, the gallery features monthly exhibitions of established and emerging artists. The gallery's contemporary aesthetic ranges from realism to surrealism with a strong focus on illustrative painting and representational sculpture. She is a pround member of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association and the current Director of North Beach First Fridays. Her passion for art started at a young age and continues today with her private art collection.

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