24 March - 12 April 2011
about the exhibition
The recent works of Thornton Walker explore the ‘frozen moments’ captured by photography and film. Stills from black and white films, photographs taken by his father in Canada in the 1930s, along with his own archive of photographic images have been Thornton’s inspiration. Each work portrays a snapshot in time, a single moment in a detailed narrative, full of animation and life but left to the viewer’s imagination to complete. Shadowy figures on the seashore, a man running through snow-covered woodlands, a pair of outstretched hands, all overwhelmingly beautiful yet mysterious, as if waiting for the next line in their story. His new works include pastels on prepared watercolour paper and a new 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 says of his work, “I have always struggled with a work until a certain quality emerges that can often surprise me. It seems like the painting then starts speaking for itself.”
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. 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, Parliament House and the British Museum.