Caroline Walker: Lisa

Caroline Walker: Lisa
29 April–28 May 2022
25—28 Old Burlington Street

British artist Caroline Walker will present a new body of work that traces the daily life of her sister-in-law Lisa as she becomes a mother. Walker’s cinematic paintings and works on paper reveal the diverse experiences of women living in contemporary society. Her paintings blur the boundary between objective documentary and personal experience, drawing on photographic source material.

The exhibition explores Lisa’s new responsibilities as a mother through the routines of her domestic life. Walker captures the changes she experiences four weeks before giving birth up until the baby reaches three months old.

The house is mapped through everyday tasks; we see Lisa pack a bag for the hospital, watch television whilst feeding the baby, and fold items of clothing into a drawer. Cups and plates collect on a coffee table whilst she entertains the new arrival, and studies of night feeds present a particularly intimate ‘through the keyhole’ insight.

Walker begins her artistic process by shadowing her subject, photographing distinctive moments from their daily life. Using these images as a reference she creates loose pencil and charcoal drawings, technical compositions, and oil sketches. Her paintings are then produced freehand working from the drawings and photographs.

She underpaints in acrylic before working over in oils to produce small works on board as well as larger canvases. Walker explains that the works “combine a factual record of something that [the source] photographs represent, and my memories or emotional response to being in a particular place or spending time with the people I paint”.

‘Lisa’ echoes the themes of Walker’s presentation for Fitzrovia Chapel, London
in February 2022, which brought together works made during her residency at
University College Hospital’s maternity wing. A previous series ‘Janet’ saw the
artist capture her mother completing daily tasks around the home.

These projects continue Walker’s focus on the often-overlooked jobs performed by women and the psychologically charged spaces they inhabit. From anonymous to highly personal portrayals of those closer to her, Walker’s paintings explore the value of ‘women’s work’ whilst hinting at the subjects’ inner lives.

©2022 Caroline Walker, Stephen Friedman Gallery