Ingleby Gallery introduces the solo show by Scottish painter Caroline Walker, Janet. Walker’s paintings have become known for their explorations of the power of gaze, and the domesticity of her female subjects. Walker delves into the subject’s psyche that captures the viewer. If you’re able to see the show in person, make sure to book your visit. The show will run through December 19, 2020.
Hemming Pyjamas, Late Morning, December 2020, oil on linen, 205 x 230 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery
The series places the viewer in a third person perspective, where we see Walker’s own mother, Janet, alone performing household tasks completely oblivious of the spectator’s presence. The compositions portray meticulously contrasted and brightly colored palettes that are “sometimes playful but can also be challenging, documenting the myriad social, economic, racial and political factors that affect women’s lives today”.
Watering Sweet Peas, Mid Morning, May 2019, oil on linen, 210 x 165 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery
The artist begins her artistic process by producing photographs of the scenes which are later transcribed into oil paintings. The way she titles her works provides an additional layer of analysis to the subject matter. Starting with the task performed, followed by the estimated time of day, and the month of the year, the titles speak volumes to the way women have contemplated their daily tasks and routines throughout history. They propose an added level of introspection into the scene and the subject’s thoughts in her isolation.
Planting Decisions, Early Afternoon, May 2019, oil on linen, 45 x 36 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery
Works like Hemming Pyjamas, Late Morning, December 2020, Changing Pillowcases, Mid Morning, March 2020, Table Laying, Late Morning, May 2020, and Dusting Pictures, Late Morning, May 2019 have a somewhat Vermeer-esque style to them in their composition and color palettes. The subject’s unconsciousness of the viewer on them is an intriguing comparison to what the female role has been expected to be throughout history. It’s a thankless job to be a homemaker, and as the paintings explore, it’s a solitary job at that.
Table Laying, Late Morning, May 2020, oil on linen, 185 x 250 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery
A characteristic looseness in brushstrokes adds a touch of slight abstraction to the artist’s style. Works that show scenes of the exterior like Heading In, Midday, May 2020, Watering Sweet Peas, Mid Morning, 2019 and even Planting Decisions, Early Afternoon, May 2019 propose a dwarfing sense against the magnanimous presence of nature, almost blatantly correlated to the presence of man and the serving role of women among them.
Tucking In, Late Evening, March 2020, oil on linen, 200 x 265 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery
These quiet paintings make a sounding statement to the female role that is still present today, an all-too relevant topic to explore in the 21st century. Make sure to visit the exhibition and to visit the Ingleby website to access the online viewing room.
Changing Pillowcases, Mid Morning, March 2020, oil on linen, 190 x 240 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby Gallery