John R Walker, Deep Time Painting

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John R Walker Deep T ime Painting 4 - 25 june, 2022

© Utopia Art Sydney

Deep T ime Painting The ancient geology of the Flinders Ranges, the mining and grazing ravaged country around Pitcairn and Oratunga in South Australia are the focus of Walker’s latest exhibition. These paintings capture the endlessness and timelessness of this vast rugged landscape. John R Walker first visited this region in 2016 when preparing for the 2018 Adelaide Biennial. The land kept drawing him back and he has visited many times since. Last year he led a group on an artists camp at Pitcairn Station. Work by these artists, including Walker, are currently on exhibition at Burra Regional Gallery. Denise Officer, who organised and participated in the artists camp and exhibition was inspired by John’s enthusiastic welcome: “Let’s walk the country, feel the hum and rhythm here … see what you can do with this journey … where you may go. The space, where others have been, a landscape we don’t know… with materials I work in but you don’t know … yet.” Officer writes about John R Walker’s body of work that has resulted from his time spent in the landscape: “Walker’s Deep Time Paintings are in the land of the long dancing paint brush, of line after line, sometimes continuous/sinuous, other times a rougher stroke, a highlight blob and a quick flashy mark picking up his view. Rocky rolling ridges, repetitive hills and escarpments, the wet, the dry. The layers of the northern Flinders Ranges. Add to these suggestions of the detritus of the once illustrious South Australian wool industry amongst bits of mining and life out bush. It’s a beautifully hard and giving landscape. A big blue sky, sweeping clouds often mirroring the land below, forever changing shape or not there at all. There seems to be no end or no edge to Walker’s paintings. His landscape views are essentially incomplete.”1 The last painting in this catalogue “Eagle Spirit, Vathiwarta” is a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. “During our most recent stay at Oratunga we got to know a local Adnyamathanha man and artist Kristian Coulthard. After I finished my painting I could not think of the right title for it, so I asked Kristian. He explained that the story of Patawerta (or Vathiwarta) is connected to the sacred eagle dreaming, Wildu. And so, the title for the painting became ‘Eagle Spirit - Vathiwarta’.” - John R Walker


Thanks to Denise Officer for her insightful quotes and recollections

1. Redbanks Morning, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 89 x 119 cm

2. Manunda Washaway, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 91 x 121 cm

3. Pitcairn Views, 2021, gouache on paper, 55 x 75 cm

4. Flinders Rock Walking, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 122 x 92 cm

5. Near Breakneck Gorge, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 31 x 46 cm 6. Self Portrait in a landscape Format, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 31 x 46 cm

7. Glass Gorge 2, 2021, gouache on paper, 76 x 110 cm

8. Near Parachilna, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 152 x 243.5 cm

9. Lake Mungo Walking, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 121 x 91 cm

10. Land of the Oratunga, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 92 x 121 cm

11. Oratunga, 2021, gouache on paper, 55 x 75 cm

12. Eagle Spirit, Varthiwarta 1, 2021, archival oil on polyester, 272 x 197 cm

13. Land of the Oratunga 1, 2021, gouache on paper, 75 x 110 cm

14. Porcupine Ridge 1, 2022, archival oil on polyester, 32 x 31.5 cm

Eagle Spirit, Vathiwarta Wynne Prize Finalist, 2022 AGNSW

Utopia Art Sydney 983 Bourke St Waterloo NSW 2017 Telephone: + 61 2 9319 6437 email: © Utopia Art Sydney

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