The role of women in society, and specifically the undervalued labour of the historically invisible female, is a theme shared by the work of yesterday’s artist Ruth Ewan and today’s, the painter Caroline Walker. It is one that Caroline has explored in a number of recent series of paintings of women working in hotels, nail bars and anonymous offices. She works initially with photographs, often snapped covertly, through drawings and oil sketches into lustrous, light filled paintings. As the writer Marco Livingstone put it ‘much of the effectiveness of Walker's paintings arises from the fact that as a spectator one is simultaneously looking into other people’s lives and putting oneself in their place’. In other words, they offer a curious combination of intimate insight and a voyeuristic vantage point.
More recently still Caroline has turned this lens on a subject much closer to home to record her mother working in the house and garden where she grew up. Collectively these new paintings offer a deeply personal portrait of the love that lies behind images of the most mundane domesticity.
These paintings were scheduled to be shown this summer in the exhibition ‘Janet’ for the (now cancelled) Edinburgh Art Festival. We look forward to hosting this show later on in the year.
To watch a new film by Caroline Walker in the Studio follow the links in the exhibition page or in the video tab.