7 - 26 May 2009
about the exhibition
Thornton Walker’s evocative paintings reveal an interest in the dynamics of perspective in the creation of space with each work venturing far beyond describing physicality. Thornton’s decisive consideration of spatial tension between poised objects and empty space sits in juxtaposition to the calmness of his subdued palette, allowing the works “an independent life, like a meditation”. The works emit a restrained spirituality, using unrelated motifs that have long fascinated Thornton, a child’s model garage from the 40’s, an old white box, an espaliered apple tree in his backyard and a skull. The paintings challenge the conventional still life genre by infusing the compositions with Zen notions of emptiness. As Thornton says of his work, “I was fascinated with the scenarios that arise in dreams and the way seemingly unrelated objects coexist together or sit alone in isolation in an ambiguous space. I arranged these subjects on the canvas in a similar way detaching them from any realistic background and giving them this dreamlike quality, adding layers of washes, drips, stains, grids, collage and writing extracts from the dreams onto the surface … making it difficult but not impossible to read, as a dream is.”
Thornton Walker began his art education in printmaking at Prahran College of Advanced Education, which was followed by further studies at the Victorian College of the Arts. After graduating in 1977, he spent the next eight years travelling extensively in Europe and the United States and completed residencies in Spain and Malaysia. In 2007 Thornton was awarded a Printmaking Fellowship with the Australian Print Workshop in Melbourne. With over thirty-five solo exhibitions to his name, Thornton’s work has been acquired by numerous institutional and corporate collections, including those of the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of WA, Artbank, Queensland University of Technology, Deakin University and Parliament House, Canberra.