Two hundred and eighty six

Frame, Figure, Frame, Figure

2010 by Caroline Walker
Shortlisted for The Threadneedle Prize 2010;

Walker’s paintings have that collective personality that only an interior can possess — where object and surrounding in their entirety combine to create an atmosphere seeped with curiosity in its narrative possibility. It is the power of film stills, a shot panning into a room, a stage set exposing the cross-section of a house – the power of the voyeuristic eye of the fly on the wall. Walker manipulates her fly skillfully, angling her viewpoint and casting her painting in shadowy hazes. The quality of light and colour is always beautiful — in ‘Frame, Figure…’ the gleam of white tiles is set off by black and the metallic sheen of metal, while seductively purple plays in deep and pale shades juxtaposing the warmth of mustard that coddles the figure that sits in the corner. Spread almost awkwardly, like the warped perspective of the room, her arms are wide like wings with her legs drawn thinly out into the light. There is a comfort in these paintings of place, of figures frozen in the midst of being, becoming part of what surrounds them. There is a feeling of nostalgia created with the reminiscence of design, as Walker consistently captures such detail in her snapshots of environment. This immediately brings an element of time into her paintings, as we recognise or associate pieces with times in our lives or indeed the documented lives of others. With such quietly loaded canvases, it is no wonder that Walker’s paintings transfix.


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