The paintings of Meg Walling are a distillation of her vision of nature and recollections of places. Walling grew up in northern Pennsylvania spending most of each day outside surrounded by lush meadows and forests and on the shores of Presque Isle, a sandy peninsula that juts into the moody waters of Lake Erie. It was here that she developed an intimate connection to nature. She spent her early college years in the agricultural heartland of Ohio on a small campus surrounded by expansive farmlands, low morning fog and old stand trees. The early exposure to these landscapes deepened her perception of changes of light, atmosphere and the passage of seasons. After graduation, an epic jump to the southwest desert followed and for a short time after, she could see nothing but beige. It took time for Walling to register the desert’s subtle palette, but as she began to study the forms of nature and paint this landscape, she awakened to the visual richness of this place where she has now lived for over 50 years. The earth’s pigments, tawny and golden, the green of lawns, and the blues and reds of the sky reflected on the surrounding rocky slopes and sand dunes are frequently found in her work. Numerous trips to western Europe, where she explored the antiquities of Florence, Rome, Paris and London, plus time spent with dear friends in the Pacific Northwest and on the Oregon Coast, have deepened this connection to color, and texture. Her visual library has expanded.
Walling attended Wittenberg University in 1966 to study American Literature, where she was influenced by the works of Twain, Steinbeck, and Hemingway, authors who wrote sparingly of place. Today she carries around a small notebook to record memorable passages, phrases, ideas, and lyrics that inspire images, a habit begun in her early 20s, that now serves as a source for painting subjects and titles. In 1990, she studied psychology and became a licensed marriage therapist. Years of this meaningful work with people broadened her worldview and crystalized her core belief that we have more in common than not, an underlying theme of her artwork. Since 2007, she has devoted herself entirely to painting.
Walling considers herself to be an abstract impressionist. She is now known for her paintings of landscapes characterized by a strong sense of geometric form and emotional intensity reflecting an individual, energetic style and vivid sense of color and rhythm. Walling has exhibited in numerous California galleries, commercial public spaces, in the Palm Springs Art Museum, and The Galen Artists Center. Her work on canvas, board, and paper is found in private collections in New York, California, Oregon, Washington and in Mexico.
Meg Walling Artist Statement
In my painting, I use images I find in my desert backyard, or from my walks or from poems and books or movies or from my trips to the northwest, especially the Oregon coast. Using form and color in my painting, I intend to transcend journalistic report to capture the essence of a thing or a place. From this perch, it is possible to take a new look at things familiar-- to see with new eyes. By moving away from the literal, new interpretations of things we thought we knew become possible and the shared experience becomes accessible.
I am deeply saddened how our society is rocked by polarity. Today, more and more, differing opinions have led to an escalation of conflict, separation and distrust. I believe that in passionate defense of individual positions, we have closed our minds to the possibility that we have more in common than we think. As an artist, I have a way in – I have the means to engage emotion and imagination with my art so the viewer might get a glimpse of what connects us all.