Rainbow Sign’s “Exhibit IX,” featuring the work of Larry Walker, ran from late November of 1972 through late January of 1973, spanning the holiday season. Kay Greaves, writer for the Oakland Post’s “On the Art Scene,” mentioned the show briefly and suggested to readers, “for that important person on your Christmas gift-list, consider giving a work of art – and if you decide in favor, be certain to view Walker’s works as wonderful gift-ideas.”
Two weeks later, another “On the Art Scene” writer, Cleveland Bellow, an artist himself and the man responsible for designing some of Rainbow Sign’s early brochures, wrote a much more substantial and interesting review:
“[Walker’s] show consists of an interesting combination of drawings and paintings, many using a mixed media technique (pencil, spraypaint, charcoal and collage). The major works of the show are a part of what Walker calls the “Fallout” series. This particular body of work concerns itself with the effects of the cycle of life to death and after life. Walker has integrated images in these drawings depicting Blacks being subjected to the radiation of the American dream, along with symbols one might find in a shooting gallery, star and duck targets and the ever-present red, white and blue.
Although the show has been titled “Social Statement Series,” when I questioned Walker about what the relationship of his Fallout series was to the show’s title, he replied “nothing.” Seems Ms. Montgomery titled the show without knowledge of what Walker felt about his work. Yet I found that most of his work, although subtle, had some political and social overtones. So, what is the artist about? Check it out and decide for yourself. ”
A note of tension is detectable between Bellow and Montgomery here, as well as pointed contrast between the “wonderful gift-idea” suggestion of Greaves and the imagery of shooting galleries and Blacks exposed to the toxic “radiation of the American dream” noted by Bellow.
Walker’s career continued to flourish and he and his daughter Kara, (whose third birthday fell on the day of this art show opening) are both extremely successful artists today.