Caroline Walker - Picture Window
Celebrated for her beautiful, sometimes playful yet often challenging and complex paintings of contemporary women in diverse architectural settings, both interior and exterior, Caroline Walker's practice explores the myriad social, cultural, economic, racial and political factors that affect women's lives today. From the luxurious hotels and private homes typical of Los Angeles and Palm Springs to the temporary social housing of female asylum seekers arriving in Europe from Africa and Asia, from the nail bars of London to the private pools and nighttime parties of the European elite, Walker deftly broaches both everyday and more provocative subjects ranging from the pay gap to migrant workforces, the beauty industry to domestic roles, gender stereotypes to ageism. By addressing such themes and through her painterly virtuosity, Walker is rapidly establishing herself as one of the leading British painters of her generation. The publication features both a significant newly commissioned essay and an in-depth interview with the artist by art historian Marco Livingstone - a leading authority on contemporary art with a particular interest in Pop Art and figurative painting. Together, these two texts offer a comprehensive overview of the subjects, themes and approaches, both conceptually and in terms of technique, that have come to define Walker's oeuvre. Topics include historical inspiration and references ranging from nineteenth-century French painting to twentieth-century modernist architecture, Walker's carefully choreographed staging of photoshoots with actors, models and sitters in various locations around the world, and the role of photography, drawing and studies in the development of her major works. Through an ongoing dialogue with the artist spanning several years, Livingstone has become a key interlocutor for Walker's practice, offering readers an opportunity to really get behind the scenes and beneath the surface of her work. Another new text, by Andrew Nairne, director of Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge, specifically addresses the body of work `Home' that was commissioned and first presented at Kettle's Yard in spring 2018. For this series, Walker worked with the charity Women for Refugee Women, exploring the lives of asylum-seeking women in temporary accommodation in London. Dr Rina Arya, a professor of visual culture at the University of Huddersfield, focusses in her text on Walker's paintings of nail bars - commercial, private spaces in the public domain in which the encounter between worker and client can be both depersonalising and strangely intimate. Continuing the publication's consideration of how Walker represents the complexities and realities of different women's lives in urban and suburban contexts today, a short yet illuminating text by Paris-based scholar and writer Dr. Lauren Elkin, author of `Flaneuse: Women Walk the City' (Chatto& Windus, 2016), offers an introduction to Walker's series of glimpsed scenes of women at work, whether in hair salons, restaurants or office buildings - the result of the artist's own record of walking the city in London. `Picture Window' is the most substantial and comprehensive publication to date on the work of London-based Scottish artist Caroline Walker (b. 1982, Dunfermline). A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, her rise to the international stage since completing her studies in 2009 has involved solo exhibitions at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge; GRIMM, Amsterdam and New York; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles; ProjectB, Milan; and Space K, Gwacheon, among others. Developed and designed by GRIMM, Amsterdam and New York, which has co-published the monograph with Anomie Publishing, UK, `Picture Window' is beautifully illustrated by around 170 images including paintings, studies, drawings and photographs, many of which are published here for the first time. The publication is being launched to coincide with a presentation of Walker's works at Frieze London in autumn 2018.