Here i give thanks: John R. Walker

Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, 3 July – 10 August 2015
Artist Talk: John R. Walker in conversation with Glenn Barkley, Saturday 4 July, 2pm
Curator: Glenn Barkley
Associate Curator: Ivan Muñiz Reed

John R WalkerSix Days at Bundanon and I Give Thanks to Boyd, 2001, oil on canvas, 183 x 221 cm. Image courtesy Utopia Gallery, Sydney © the artist.

About the exhibition:

Over a long career John R. Walker has established himself as an artist, thinker and painter unrestrained by scale and subject. Here I give thanks... brought together a group of Walker's works that are based primarily on the landscape.

The exhibition's title comes from a painting, Six Days at Bundanon and I Give Thanks to Arthur Boyd  (2001), created within the Shoalhaven landscape in which Boyd is imprinted. This work in turn recalls the pivotal work of Colin McCahon Six Days in Nelson and Canterbury (1950), from which Walker's painting takes the same form of six panels, not unlike the panels of a comic strip.

Since then, Walker's approach to large scale, ambitious painting sees the works function as enveloping landscapes in their own right, where the artist's movements – from wrist to elbow, moving back and forth from micro, detailed incident to broad gestural sweeps of sky and earth – are integrated in the artworks creation and meaning.

The flicker and shimmer of the paintings' surfaces become a metaphor for walking through the landscape itself. The act of viewing becomes as physical as the act of painting and the hills and scrub are now imbued with deep spiritual and mystical power. 

press coverage

Canberra Times, July 2015