5 - 22 November 2004
about the exhibition
In his third exhibition at Beaver Galleries, Victorian artist Thornton Walker offers a rare insight into the wide range of influences he has embraced as a painter: “I wanted to present an exhibition which highlighted the diversity of subject matter and technique in my practice over the past several years.” Over decades, Walker has painted sepia, wash and watercolour landscapes which are a cornerstone of his practice – although not often exhibited – and represent records of his travels, a personal visual diary. In the mid-eighties Thornton worked on conventional still life studies that evolved into enigmatic paintings using the chinese bowl as a recurring motif. Zen notions of emptiness infused the work, the realism of the ceramic bowl, its shadow affirming its existence, resting on an uncertain background of clouds, roughly textured colour and text. The influence of overseas travel further informed new work. A series of interiors was inspired by visits over a three month period in 1995 to the 14th century infirmary in Pedralbes Monastery, Barcelona. The simple monastic cells he found had a sense of time, history and a stillness he wanted to capture, resulting in a series of watercolours, small oils, and later larger works. More recently, after seeing Picasso’s “Flûte de Pan” at the Musée de Picasso in Paris, Thornton embarked on a series of paintings that are a ‘deconstruction’ of the original: ”I realised it was the backdrop that captivated me, the dream-like seascape and architectural shapes without the two figures.”
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 twenty 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.