Codling’s Walken Exhibit Cues the Muse

walken1Matisse had his Odalisque ?? painter John W. Codling has Christopher Walken.

(“And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”)

Codling?s series, ?Sundays with Chris,? a study of the actor,? is on exhibit from October 22 through November 1 at DVF Gallery in the Meatpacking District at 444 West 14th Street, NYC). The artist, a Wall Street survivor, found his muse in the maelstrom of the the current economic crisis.

“A little over a year ago the financial markets and the economy started imploding. As someone who makes his living on wall street I was stressed to the max and my favorite day of the week was ruined. Sundays were no longer a fun day to spend with my wife, family and friends.? Sunday was now a workday. For months my ‘day of rest’ was turned into an anxiety filled mockery and the only thing missing in Manhattan was Godzilla.? Every weekend was absolute shit storm of bad news which culminated on sunday night. To cope with the stress some people ran, some?did yoga, some drowned themselves in whiskey and some ?packed up the SUV and headed back home. Being a native new yorker with a 12 year career on Wall Street I had no place to move back to. At three hundred pounds i was too fat for yoga or jogging. I yearned for calm, a? leader I could trust to guide me through the crisis.? There were none found in the financial world so I shut off CNBC and logged out of bloomberg.? I found my leader in front of me on the canvas every Sunday. I wound up painting Christopher Walken.” (SundaysWithChris.com)

Given the puns with which Codling has named some of his canvasses (?Walken This Way,? ?Baby Walken? and ?I Can?t Stop Walken?) one might assume that “Sundays With Chris”? is an exercise in artsy irony. It?s not ??Codling consistently captures Walken in his more haunting aspect, which critic Pauline Kael once described as ??his pale, flat-faced mask of pain, his glaring eyes?? and the images effectively become a dark but transcendent tribute to the man and muse.

No word if Walken himself will attend ?Sundays with Chris.? The Oscar-winning actor is probably too busy portraying Ozzy Osborne in an upcoming biopic about Motely Crue and the 80s metal scene from whence they sprung. New York media pals interested in an invite to an October 22 private reception for Codling can tell Alexandra Baker I sent you.

Further Reading: Check out this an hour-long episode of the Daedalus Howell Show (mostly) dedicated to Walken.