In her latest series of paintings, Janet, Caroline Walker focuses on her mother, as she goes about her daily tasks; cooking, cleaning, tidying and tending the garden of the Fife home where the Scottish artist spent her childhood.
Despite the mundane activities of her subject, the artworks are tender, moving and force us to consider our own mothers; the sacrifices they've made and how they won't be around forever, for those of us still lucky to have them in our lives.
Born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1982, Walker has become known for her striking canvases of women, specifically of women at work. These fragmented narratives, glimpses of women going about their lives in both public and private environments, begin as photographic snaps (often taken covertly) which are later worked up into lustrous, luminous oil paintings. They are sometimes playful, but can also be challenging, documenting the myriad social, cultural, economic, racial and political factors that affect women's lives today.
Walker's paintings offer both an intimate insight and a voyeuristic vantage point. As art historian and curator, Marco Livingstone puts it "much of the effectiveness of Walker's paintings arises from the fact that as a spectator one is simultaneously looking into other people's lives and putting oneself in their place".
On show at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh this June, a book illustrating all the works in this series (with an introduction by the critic Hettie Judah) will also be published to coincide with the exhibition. Janet by Caroline Walker, runs from 13 June until 12 September 2020.