5 – 22 May 2016
about the exhibition
Demonstrating his masterful and sensitive handling of surfaces, this new exhibition of work by Thornton Walker depictsglimpses of pristine coves and rocky outcrops from the walking tracks of the NSW south coast, near Batemans Bay. The dense coastal landscape has been a source of inspiration to Thornton for over twenty years, however, as he explains, “only in the last year or so I have felt confident to put these glimpses and memories down on canvas, resulting in a number of ambitious oil paintings. These paintings are memories of a momentary glimpse.” Thornton continues to use a technique of mixing oil paint with different alkyd mediums to create a very thin paint, with virtually no viscosity, allowing a painterly effect that is both fluid and unpredictable. As a way of‘keeping his eye in,’ Thornton regularly sets aside time to paint still life watercolours, resulting in non-formulaic works that continue to surprise him. Of his practice in general he says – “I want to convey not a feeling of stillness but stillness itself, a reality removed from ‘normality’, an aspiration to a way of simply being and observing minus the baggage”. As ever, Thornton’s works are imbued with sensitivity, a superb colour palette and an air of spirituality that instantly engages and immerses the viewer.
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. In 2012 a 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.