The Reclaimer

by / Wednesday, 25 February 2015 / Published in Australian artists, Front Page, Modern Art, Sculpture

Murray Walker is 77 and has the energy of a man half his age. His output is staggering and his practice usually begins at the recycling depot where he finds his found objects that usually form the basis of his weirdly wonderful work.

What was Once Yours…Is Now Mine!

Murray Walker’s latest show, The Reclaimer, subtitled: What was Once Yours is Now Mine covers a surreal range of interest points for Murray, including a timber framed room installation built from packing palettes to rusty assemblages made from cast iron bells .

 Murray with junk

Murray Walker collecting his materials. Photo Michel Lawrence

Murray is a painter, a sculptor, and a fine drawer. He loves the reclaiming process where he visits the re-cycling centre and the transfer stations where he finds exquisite pieces of other people’s junk which Murray can usually see a shape for a new life. Interestingly, Murray recycles his own junk as he returns the pieces he doesn’t use.


Murray also knows how to add a dash of fun at the opening!

 This show is built around a large installation, a room he built from some discarded wooden palettes and then painted with quotations that have inspired him: “ I have spent a lot of time since the 1980’s reclaiming. I saw the idea for this at Chapman and Bailey (Gallery and Framing) with some giant palettes. I could see that I could have a room and I’ve never really done an installation before!” says Murray.

Murray with Laura

Murray Walker  confers with curator Laura Lantieri. Photo Michel Lawrence

“I decorated it in the best sense with artists whose philosophies I’ve been influenced by. So, it’s a celebratory piece!”

 Murray says that he has maintained a very active arts practise: “In the fifty years I have been an artist thyere’s a good deal more freedom now in how I view the beautiful oibject” says Murray.

 “Some people might thinks its ugly. But I say: ‘In ugliness there can be such beauty!’”

 As Murray says about  his own work: “I like best the art that doesn’t know its name”

 Of his work Murray he thinks he brings anarchy, humour, irony and satire.

 Murray says Australian art has primarily been about decoration:” I think in the main that probably comes from the fact that we were descended from English migrants not Spanish, French or Italian. After all the English destroyed all their medieval art under Henry VIII and the Puritans.

Michael Leunig, the cartoonist and artist says of Murray: “ His peculiar organic, totally individualistic pieces which seem to come out of the earth and out of his hands as bits and pieces of scrap are immensely spirited- like Murray himself!”

Leunig says of The Reclaimer: “ Its visually delightful and unpredictable. A lot of contemporary art is so constricted. But Murray’s art is always there, sometimes where you least expect it… but I give thanks to Murray’s Work.”

As Professor Sasha Grishin says of him: “Murray is the real deal!”

Murray at install