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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. 

Recent and ongoing solo exhibitions include, Caroline Walker, K11, Shanghai (CN) [forthcoming]; Lisa, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (UK); Caroline Walker: Birth Reflections, The Fitzrovia Chapel, London (UK) in 2022; Windows, KM21, Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Women's work, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham (UK); Nearby, GRIMM, New York, NY (US) in 2021; JANET, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (UK) in 2020; A Woman Sewing, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL) in 2019.

Selected group exhibitions include, the British Art Show 9, Wolverhampton; Manchester and Plymouth (UK); A Female Gaze, Nottingham Castle, Nottingham (UK) in 2022; Condition Humaine, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); The Rules of Art?, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff (UK); Reflections beyond the Surface, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL) in 2021; Everyday Heroes, Hayward Gallery, London (UK) in 2020; 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.

Walker is represented in a number of public collections including: KM21, Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); National Museum Wales, Cardiff (UK); Museum Voorlinden (NL); The UK Government Art Collection, London (UK); Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker (NO); Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); ING Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); The Franks-Suss Collection (UK); De Ying Foundation (KR); Shetland Islands Council, Lerwick (UK) and Pérez Art Museum Miami (US).

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