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Caroline Walker’s largescale canvases and intimate scenes depict anonymous women in settings that blur the boundaries between public and private. Her paintings hint at the narrative possibilities of the women pictured in different settings, but their stories are never fully revealed to the viewer. Initially Walker’s process involved hiring models and staging domestic scenes which she photographed and used as the source material for her paintings. Walker meticulously determined the position of visual signifiers in these psychologically charged spaces, subverting archetypes of gender and relationships. In 2016, she adopted a more documentarian approach, stepping out into the streets of London to profile women at work in restaurants, nail bars, hair salons, and hotels. As a commission for Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge, UK) Walker collaborated with the charity Women for Refugee Women in 2017 to make a series of paintings of women refugees and asylum seekers. This experience deepened her interest in the invisibility of female-dominated professions, such as retail, hospitality, and cleaning, and labor that is often undervalued or taken for granted. Walker has broadened the scope of her paintings to include women working in a wide range of positions, with a sensitivity to the figure’s role within the space and work environment. A sense of distance remains between the viewer and Walker’s subjects, pronounced by the seemingly voyeuristic framing of her compositions. At times, the countenance or body language of her subjects reveals a sense of discord between their surroundings and their thoughts and emotions. As a cohesive body of work, Walker’s paintings explore the performance of gender identity, femininity, and question the norms of depicting women and the female form across a range of socio-economic contexts. 

Caroline Walker (b. 1982 in Dunfermline, UK) currently lives and works in London (UK), where she completed her MA at the Royal College of Art in 2009. Forthcoming solo presentations include a museum exhibition at GEM, Museum for Contemporary Art, The Hague (NL); Women’s work at Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham (UK); and JANET, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (UK). Recent solo exhibitions include, A Woman Sewing, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL) in 2019; service, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); Actions, Part 2: Home, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (UK); Sunset, Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA (US) in 2018; Painted Ladies, Space K, Gwacheon (KR); Night Scenes, ProjectB, Milan (IT) in 2017; Bathhouse, Space K, Seoul (KR) in 2015; and Set Piece, ProjectB Gallery, Milan (IT) in 2014. Group exhibitions include, The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge (UK); María Berrío, Caroline Walker, Flora Yukhnovich, Victoria Miro Gallery, in association with The Great Women Artists, London (UK) in 2019; The World’s Your Oyster, ARTUNER, Palazzo Capris, Turin (IT); In The Company Of, curated by Katy Hessel, TJ Boulting, London (UK); Dialogues / New Painting from London, GASK, Kutná Hora (CZ); Actions. The image of the world can be different, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (UK) in 2018; Women Artists: A Conversation, Fine Art Society, London (UK);CURRENTS (with Nick Goss and Neil Raitt), curated by Tamar Arnon and Eli Zagury, Lin & Lin Gallery,Taipei (TW) in 2017, among others. sWalker is represented in a number of public collections including: the National Museum Wales, Cardiff (UK); UK Government Art Collection, London (UK); Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker (NO); Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); ING Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); and Shetland Islands Council (UK).

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