3 - 21 May 2007
about the exhibition
Thornton Walker has embraced a diversity of subject matter and technique in his practice over the past three decades. His most recent collage paintings have evolved from a series of works paying homage to Picasso’s painting ‘La Flute de Pan’, in particular to the evocative seascape and architectural forms behind the two figures. Thornton began these studies in 2002, and has since painted thirty works exploring the simple composition and dream-like atmosphere of the original 1923 painting. In this exhibition Thornton has used minimal means to re-create the ‘atmosphere’ of the original; reducing the glimpses to a window; the architectural forms to framing motifs, and the large white spaces focusing and intensifying the small collaged ‘scenes’ which in turn have become more ambiguous and abstracted. On numerous visits to the Picasso museums in Barcelona and Paris, Thornton found it inspiring to see the hundreds of studies Picasso produced from Velazquez’ ‘Las Menina’s’ and the ‘Infanta’ portraits, ”… as though he was trying to take them apart piece by piece to discover their essence”. Thornton’s still life and interior paintings also have a rich meditative quality emphasised by the serenity of the picture plane and the sometimes striking ordinariness of the depicted objects, often floating on raw backgrounds of subtle texture and colour. After a recent printmaking fellowship at the Australian Print Workshop, Thornton has further developed this imagery using printmaking techniques as well as the more immediate medium of watercolour. Demonstrating a masterful but sensitive handling of surfaces, these works engage us with their earthy spirituality.
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. 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, and Parliament House, Canberra.This is Thornton’s fourth exhibition with Beaver Galleries.