"I was joking with my son that I was building a time machine," says artist Peter Walsh. "I had taped off an hexagonal shape on the floor of our living room to mark the spot for an old kitchen chair turned drawing stool. There didn't seem to be any rational reason to spend hour after hour laboring over some fussy pencil drawings but the works called out for explanation."
"Before beginning this series, I had been feeling disappointed with both my own work and, quite frankly, almost all contemporary art. As a collective group, artists seemed to be failing. Could I even remember what drew me to art in the first place?"
"For example, I remembered seeing some Bruegel paintings (in bad reproductions) when I was ten years old and experiencing an unsettling and uncanny sense of familiarity. I saw places I'd never been, with buildings and clothing styles that seemed old or out of fashion, but the "feel" was now. The past was existing in a kind of perpetual present and I was there with Bruegel or maybe more unnerving - Bruegel was here in the present with me."
"Of course this is a commonplace experience and one that many of us get from photographs in particular. In some cases this feeling is simply nostalgia. Part of what is unusual with a painting or drawing, however, is the powerful bodily sense that comes from the way traces of the hand and mind of the artist are built into the physical object of an artwork. Those qualities are physically mirrored and re-experienced in our own very alive bodies. This process is the time machine. The sensation we feel is of a timelessness rooted in the present and, by extension, a mild euphoria at being momentarily freed from the tightly bound constraints of time.
"So these drawings are a kind of contemplative philosophical experiment. How will they be experienced in ten years? In fifty years? If they survive, how will they be experienced in five hundred years?"