16 October - 4 November 2014
about the exhibition
Despite the diversity of Thornton Walker’s subject matter and technique, his interest in the dynamics of composition, perspective and spatial depth remains constant. While maintaining a focus on formal painterly concerns, Thornton incorporates subject matter recalled from dreams, travel and personal memories, conferring an ethereal, meditative quality to the work. Thornton’s recent works continue to explore both figurative and landscape images that allude to a hidden narrative. Photographs taken by his father in the 1930’s in Canada, stills or ‘frozen moments’ from old Japanese movies and his personal photos, provide a rich resource from which he draws his inspiration. Each work is overwhelmingly beautiful yet mysterious. His works includea technique of mixing oil paint with different alkyd mediums to create a very thin paint, with virtually no viscosity, allowing Thornton to produce a painterly effect that is fluid and unpredictable. Thornton also regularly sets aside time to paint still life watercolours as a way of ‘keeping his eye in,’ producing non formulaic work that continues to surprise him. As ever, his impressive and powerful canvases allow the viewers to immerse themselves in his extraordinary imagery. Demonstrating a masterful and sensitive handling of surfaces, Thornton’s works enchant us with their combination of unique material and spiritual qualities.
Thornton Walker studied printmaking at the Prahran College of Advanced Education and Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. After graduating in 1977, Thornton spent the next eight years travelling extensively throughout Europe and the United States and later undertook studio residencies in Spain and Malaysia. In 2007, Thornton was awarded a Printmaking Fellowship with the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne. His most recent residency in Penang resulted in the ‘Georgetown’ series of works where faded photographs from temples and clan house walls inspired this captivating view of an alluring foreign culture. With over forty solo exhibitions to his name, Thornton has become one of Australia’s most successful and renowned figurative tonal painters. His work is represented in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Artbank, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (Japan), Parliament House and the British Museum.