Stephen Friedman Gallery presents its first solo exhibition with Caroline Walker.
The British artist presents a new body of work that traces the daily life of her sister-in-law Lisa as she becomes a mother. Walker’s cinematic paintings and works on paper reveal the diverse experiences of women living in contemporary society. Drawing on photographic source material, her paintings blur the boundary between objective documentary and personal experience.
The exhibition explores Lisa’s new responsibilities as a mother through the routines of her domestic life. Walker captures the changes she experiences four weeks before giving birth up until the baby reaches three months old. The house is mapped through everyday tasks; we see Lisa pack a bag for the hospital, watch television whilst feeding the baby, and fold items of clothing into a drawer. Cups and plates collect on a coffee table whilst she entertains the new arrival, and studies of night feeds present a particularly intimate ‘through the keyhole’ insight.
Walker begins her artistic process by shadowing her subject, photographing distinctive moments from their daily life. Using these images as a reference she creates loose pencil and charcoal drawings, technical compositions, and oil sketches. Her paintings are then produced freehand working from the drawings and photographs. She underpaints in acrylic before working over in oils to produce small works on board as well as larger canvases. Walker explains that the works “combine a factual record of something that [the source] photographs represent, and my memories or emotional response to being in a particular place or spending time with the people I paint”.
‘Lisa’ echoes the themes of Walker’s presentation for Fitzrovia Chapel, London in February 2022, which brought together works made during her residency at University College Hospital’s maternity wing. A previous series ‘Janet’ saw the artist capture her mother completing daily tasks around the home.
These projects continue Walker’s focus on the often-overlooked jobs performed by women and the psychologically charged spaces they inhabit. From anonymous to highly personal portrayals of those closer to her, Walker’s paintings explore the value of ‘women’s work’ whilst hinting at the subjects’ inner lives.
About Caroline Walker
Walker obtained an MA in painting from Royal College of Art, London in 2009 and a BA (Hons) from Glasgow School of Art in 2004. Current exhibitions include ‘British Art Show 9’ in Wolverhampton.
Recent solo exhibitions include Birth Reflections at Fitzrovia Chapel, London, Windows’ at KM21, the Hague, Netherlands (2021); ‘Women’s Work’ at Midlands Art Centre (MAC), Birmingham, UK (2021); ‘Nearby’, GRIMM, New York, USA (2021); ‘Janet’, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2020); ‘Actions Part 2: Home’, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK (2018).
Her work can be found in numerous international collections including Arts Council Collection, UK; Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands; Government Art Collection, UK; National Museum Wales, UK; Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway and De Ying Foundation, South Korea.
Caroline Walker is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, GRIMM, Amsterdam / New York and Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh.
Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery