Richard Walker .

Attic Goes Boom 12-18 April 2018


The studio, or workshop, has been a consistent motif of Walker’s pictures for the last two decades, the recent work is based on complex studio installations and digital projections. They are usually painted directly in front of the subject and the specifics of composition, the description of space and particularities of light and colour are important concerns.

The work is in some ways anti-photographic, while accepting that our vision has perhaps already been colonised by the ubiquity of the mechanical image. It attempts to investigate human sight and representation in its full complexity; in terms of peripheral vision, binocular vision, spatial depth, imagination, painterly facture, colour and tone relationships and psychological states of mind. The new paintings do make use of the photographic digital image, but the image as projected light, rather than printed on paper. Some of the newer pictures have a panoramic format and make reference to cinema, both in terms of spectacle and in the way the image emerges from the dark.

Previously exhibited at iota: Richard Walker & Andrew Cranston ‘Fair & Foul’

Past Reviews

In the Dark, Shuttered House of Painting with Richard Walker by John Yau for Hyperallergic

Walker’s love of paint and painting is evident in these uncompromising works. I say uncompromising because an exhibition of largely black interiors challenges viewers to look slowly and carefully, which is not typical of the art world or even of much painting. With his allusions to George Braque, Edward Hopper and the Scottish painter James Pryde, among others, as Walker readily admits in the interview with Merlin James, these paintings evoke the contested ground of painting itself. On one side are those who believe that the past cannot be recovered except through parody and citation, while on the other side are those who believe that bits of the past can be recovered and put to fresh use.

“What Do We See?” Richard Walker and Our Place in the World

by Hearne Pardee, on

Walker acknowledges the heritage of Cubism in these complexly articulated compositions, and his work goes beyond contemporary debates about painting and technology to open up, as Cubism did, a deeper questioning of our commonsense view of the perceived world. His paintings address themes of consciousness and presence discussed recently by the philosopher and perceptual psychologist Alva Noë, who asks, for example, how my awareness of a person in the room next door differs from my perception of the person in front of me, or from a memory of that person. If the eye, as is now generally acknowledged, does not present us with a high resolution photograph of the world before us, then our perception becomes a much more complicated interplay of active construction with the passive reception of light.

Richard Walker: ‘House Paintings’

By ROBERTA SMITH  New York Times

The small, mysterious depictions of darkened interiors that Richard Walker, a Scottish painter, presents in his impressive second New York solo place him in a nebulous category that might be called post-appropriation painting. Which is to say that Mr. Walker infiltrates the medium with photography and intimations of installation art while maintaining a wonderful transparency of process, all on surfaces rarely larger than 18 by 24 inches.

Press Release for solo exhibition at the Andrew Mummery Gallery:

Returning consistently to direct observation, Walker has frequently depicted the immediate surroundings of his own studio. The present show is devoted to this subject matter, which at one level announces the self-reflexive nature of the artist's endeavour. These are works in which painting is seen in the process of painting itself. At the same time Walker's paintings explore the 'real' visible world, delighting in all its physical and metaphorical complexity. Light itself, a perrennial concern for visual artists, is profoundly important to these works - light and shadow revealing and concealing objects, describing and obscuring the environment, orientating us in space. Order and chaos, and the sometimes disturbing transitions from recognisable identity to indeterminacy, are faced with a disabused (yet not disillusioned) realism.

Review of Richard Walker: Recent Painting at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh May/June 1999, By Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, published in Circa 89

Each painting is a precise record of a scene, from eye, to hand, to board. The paint is fluid, allowing for marks and colours to be laid down with speed and accuracy. Each painting is also a precise record of the time it took to execute. Many of the paintings appear to have been finished in one sitting. The paintings have developed differences, a result of a change in light, a movement of the head, or a shift in the mind of the artist. Even the simplest act of perception is psychological.

Richard Walker’s work is a systematic encounter with reality. He chooses to work in a very particular tradition of art making - - the act of observational painting. By working within such an established idiom for such an immediate and rigorous project, these paintings risk being overlooked. This is their strength, for they force a viewer to work hard at their own acts of perception.


Richard Walker 'Rose' form ‘Fair & Foul’.

Richard Walker 'Rose' form ‘Fair & Foul’.