Maxine Walker's seminal series of self-portraits considers notions of beauty, masquerade and vulnerability
Reintroducing a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, Maxine Walker: Untitled at Autograph gallery in London is a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career – using photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being.
Active between 1985 and 1997, this is her first solo exhibition in more than twenty-two years. "In her seminal series of self-portraits Untitled (1997), Walker draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs," states the gallery.
"The sequence of 10 portraits shares a charged visual journey as she seemingly peels away layers of her surface skin, conjuring a narrative that is more sinister than playful, intimating that her blackness cannot – and must not – be stripped away. Magnifying the delicacy of her skin, we are invited to consider complex notions of beauty, masquerade, and vulnerability."
Maxine Walker: Untitled is currently on show at Autograph at Rivington Place in London and will run until 17 August 2019. On 11 June, it will host a talk – Shining Lights: Black Women in Photography in the 1980s and '90s – where artist Joy Gregory will reflect on the cultural landscape of the time and the publications, organisations, exhibitions, events and other work produced. To book tickets, visit autograph.org.uk.