Text: Alec Coiro
Photo: Olimpia Dior
Like every good work of art, there’s always a backstory embedded in it. If it’s special, then the artist has lived with it for a time before setting out to materialize it. Such is the case with Sod Walker, a collection and world imagined and formulated by Raffaella Hanley in collaboration with Will Sheldon that became an event at White Columns on October 17th.
Olimpia Dior went to see the Sod Walker Tomorrow show at White Columns, and we were able to have the chance to ask Hanley a few questions about it. She revealed to us in detail the backstory and elements that make up the world of Sod Walker, “The Sod Walker world was something I had put together based on a sense of place, a hot field of sunflowers surrounding a dark tower or castle. It was the artist Andrew Lee Gonzalez that named it for me because I knew that there must be people in the field, but I couldn’t flesh out exactly what they were doing. I knew some must be there to work because I didn’t see the field as a physically comfortable place to be, but too full of sun, and the sunflowers were wilted and drying from the heat, so the others must be trying to get closer to the tower and what it contained. The closer they get, the more they emulate what they imagine life inside to be.”
Given this was the world, she knew Sheldon would be ideal to work with, “I’ve really admired Will’s work for a while, and when I came to him with some ideas for this Sod Walker world, I immediately knew he would be an amazing collaborator.”
She goes on to tell us about her other collaborators and influences, “It was really wonderful to bring the artist Emma McMillan on board to create a scene for the center of the gallery. She took my idea of the different stages of the people in the Sod Walker world and brought to the interstitial moments of Degas’ painting of dancers in the studio, stretching and practicing. I really enjoy seeing the translation of my vision in the hands of other artists like Emma and Will.”
There’s also a zine that goes with the show. Hanley notes that this is also an example of the spirit of collaboration on Sod Walker, “Another example of this is the zine that White Columns printed for the event, which features photography by Bogdan Teslar Kwiatkowski (and photographs of Emma) that I overlaid with many of the drawings and paintings that Will made as part of our collaboration.”
If you missed the event, check out Olimpia’s video, or capture a little piece of its history by acquiring the zine.
The closer they get, the more they emulate what they imagine life inside to be.