Here I give thanks

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John R Walker



John R Walker Here I give thanks

28 October - 21 November, 2015

Š Utopia Art Sydney


Sandholes Road, Easter, installation view courtesy of the Drill Hall Gallery



Installation view courtesy of the Drill Hall Gallery


Our public gallery system provides the most important opportunity for the presentation of curated and scholarly survey exhibitions of the work of living artists. All artists need the opportunity to have their work considered objectively. In July of this year, the Drill Hall Gallery staged “Here I give thanks”, a unique take on the recent oeuvre of John R Walker by curator Glenn Barkley. Glenn’s considered insight into John’s practice, and his decision to exhibit a number of paintings that had not previously been seen, resulted in a refreshing exhibition that shed new light on John’s move to Braidwood in December 2002, and his relationship with the landscape of that region. Andrew Sayers, artist, curator, writer, museum director, friend and long-term observer of John’s work, opened the show. As always, his comments revealed the depth of understanding that only comes from sustained engagement with an artist and their work. Sadly, Andrew will not be with us for the opening in Sydney. His death this week was a poignant loss to us all. In this abridged version of the Drill Hall exhibition at Utopia Art Sydney, Glenn Barkley has reduced the number of paintings, thus maintaining the space that is so important for these big works to shine. It is a great chance to bring such a significant exhibition to a Sydney audience. We would like to thank Terence Maloon, Anthony Oates and the Drill Hall Gallery team for inviting John to exhibit, and for their professionalism and enthusiasm in every aspect of the exhibition. Similarly, many thanks to Glenn Barkley and the Curator’s Department for bringing fresh eyes to John’s oeuvre. And, of course, we thank Andrew Sayers for his fine words - he will be missed. - Christopher Hodges, October 2015




There’s no doubt in my mind that the biggest event in John’s life as a painter was his deep engagement with the landscape that culminated in his move to Braidwood. I remember John’s work before that move. When I was studying at Sydney University in the 1970s I lived with Perry (who I later married) in Leichhardt, just a few doors away from Stephen Mori’s gallery, then called The Student Gallery. That’s where I first saw John’s work – he had his first exhibition there in 1979. Some years later, as curator of drawings at the NGA, I visited him in his studio in Stanmore and bought some large, free flowing watercolours for the collection. In the 1988 survey of contemporary drawing that I curated, mounted here in the Drill Hall, two of these watercolours were included – an untitled female nude and a view of Annandale seen through the window of the studio. Thanks to some sleuthing work by the staff of the NGA, I have been able to confirm the accuracy of my memory of that installation – a huge black Tim Maguire hung on the wall to our right and a big Mike Parr charcoal drawing to our left … and set like a keystone in the middle of the wall opposite, the two John Walkers. (Yes, Terence, the Drill Hall has long been a very valuable space – and continues to be so – for the display of contemporary art).

Then there was a twenty year gap during which I followed John’s work, but from a distance. In 2007, now older and wiser, we reconnected in Braidwood. I was captivated by his original vision of the landscape – I said at the time that compared with my first studio visit the scene was less of engorged flesh – everything was now bony, stretched out, linear, scrawny. He had found in the landscape a kind of untidiness that can be seen everywhere in rural Australia. From his studio in Braidwood, John has continued to be the chronicler of the big histories in the landscape, from its geological structure to the incidents of human interaction emerging from and being drawn down into the earth. That’s what this exhibition celebrates. Celebrates is the right word. After all, the exhibition’s title is about giving thanks. Here I give thanks to John for opening my eyes to a way of seeing the local landscape. I can no longer drive the Kings Highway, from the Manar turnoff in the west to where the road plunges down the forested escarpment, without seeing it as a series of John Walker landscapes.

- Andrew Sayers, excerpt from opening address at the Drill Hall Gallery, 2 July 2015


Six Days at Bundanon and I Give Thanks to Boyd, 2001, oil on canvas, 183 x 221cm


John R Walker, Sandholes Rd, Easter, 2014, archival oil on polyester, 176 x 517.5cm (3 panels)




Sandholes Road, Easter Drawing, 2014, concertina artist book (gouache on paper), 32 x 694cm (unfolded). Photography: Sean Davey.


Revisiting the Boat on the Bank, 2002, archival oil on polyester, 184.5 x 209cm


Over a long career John R. Walker has established himself as an expansive thinker and painter who is unrestrained by scale and subject. In “Here I give thanks”, a group of works based solely on landscape is brought together. The exhibition’s title derives from Walker’s painting Six days at Bundanon and I give thanks to Arthur Boyd (2001), created within the Shoalhaven landscape which remains inexorably associated with Arthur Boyd. This work in turn recalls Colin McCahon’s pivotal painting Six days in Nelson and Canterbury,1 whose format of six panels, not unlike cells of a comic strip, Walker’s painting paraphrases. Six days at Bundanon and I give thanks to Arthur Boyd is roughly contemporaneous with Walker’s move to the town of Braidwood. His 1852 home has an extensive garden as well as a studio space designed by himself. The garden has become an important part of Walker’s creativity – it appears with regularity on his blog2 – and its cycles of growth, renewal and abundance as a food source inform his workaday approach: As for my day in the studio, if it is not too windy or freezing, I go for a walk, maybe do some drawing or just do ‘looking’. And then come back to the

house, make a cup of tea, walk up the back, go into the studio and look around and let my eyes adjust to the light. Typically I have about two to three pictures on the go and I mainly count on them ‘telling me what to do’. Or, a lot of the time I simply draw or work with gouache on paper. I tend to also go out into the garden a fair bit and do some weeding and tending (half a hectare is a fair bit to maintain).3

In his great meditation on poetry and gardening Stanley Kunitz talks about gardening as a creative act akin to, but distinct from, the writing of poetry: Almost anything you do in the garden, for example weeding, is an effort to create some sort of order out of nature’s tendency to run wild. There has to be a certain degree of domestication in a garden. The danger is that you can so tame your garden that it becomes a thing. It becomes landscaping.4

There is something of this gardener’s tendency to create order that flows through Walker’s painting, perhaps in landscape painting generally, and in the personal space of the garden and house which, coupled with the expansive crystalline light and rural landscape surrounding the town, has reconfigured Walker’s work. His approach to large-scale, ambitious painting sees the works function as


John R Walker, Table Under Trees, 2008, archival oil on polyester, 180 x 391.5cm



enveloping landscapes in their own right, where the artist’s movements – from wrist to elbow, moving back and forth from micro to macro, detailed incident to broad gestural sweeps of sky and earth – are integrated in the artworks’ creation and meaning. The flicker and shimmer of the paintings’ surfaces becomes a metaphor for walking through the landscape itself where the act of viewing and the act of painting are understood as forms of physical engagement. - Glenn Barkley

* * * * * * * * * *

The following conversation between John R. Walker and Glenn Barkley took place via email in May and June 2015. Glenn Barkley: Can you tell me about the residency you undertook at Bundanon in 2001? John R. Walker: At Bundanon I had the use of the Fern Studio designed by Brian Zulaikha, purpose built, functional and uncluttered. It was the first time that I had

a studio like that and there were very few distractions, so I was able to focus on putting something significant together. Bundanon made me realise that I needed that kind of studio and space to push the envelope. GB: How did you find working in a landscape so familiar through the work of another artist (Arthur Boyd) and how did you work out strategies to get around that? JRW: When I first arrived there I thought: how am I going to deal with a place that is so full of Boyd’s iconography (and Boyd’s presence), but I soon realised that apart from Pulpit Rock and the immediate banks of the Shoalhaven River itself, much of the place was visually unexplored. For example, the only time that I ‘painted’ Pulpit Rock was when I climbed to the top of it; I couldn’t actually view it, as I was standing on it, therefore it is an unseen presence in that painting. GB: Can you talk about your own spirituality and how that might manifest in your work? JRW: It is surprisingly hard to speak about something as complex and as hard to achieve as simplicity. There are some lines in an ancient hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise that has something of ‘it’:


The Boat on the Bank, 2001, oil on canvas, 188 x 286cm


A walk at Hill End (detail), 2002, concertina artist book (gouache on paper), 26 x 621cm (unfolded). Photography: Sean Davey.


Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

And

To all, life thou givest, to both great and small; in all life thou livest, the true life of all; we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.5

There is a long running theme in my work: the art of fugue. Fugues in music are made up of multiple voices that are distinct but are, at the same time, an indivisible totality. The fourteen largest paintings (and some of the Chinese folding books) that I have done over the past 15 years are fugues. I painted the first one at Bundanon – the nine-panel Shoalhaven Ridge – which is nearly 7 metres long. It was the realisation that in order to do more of these fugues, I would need a place as ‘silent as light,’ and a studio that was roughly similar in size to the one at Bundanon. That was the real driver for our move to Braidwood. GB: When did you move to Braidwood? JRW: We moved in December 2002, a few weeks before the Canberra bushfires. GB: You seem to have become more interested in the landscape since moving to Braidwood – do you think that’s true? What is it about the landscape there that draws you to it?

JRW: There is a saying: “There is no Zen on mountain tops, you go there to see what you have brought with you.” In truth I was always passionately interested in environmental history (and history in general), evolutionary history and theory, and would ‘go bush’ at every opportunity. Moving here simply brought all this into focus. There is something about the light and the big sky quality in this high, dry cold place that sparkles for me. GB: You are interested in the places where culture (farming, dumping sites, roadside verges) meets nature – what is it about these types of sites, often (seemingly) ugly and derelict, that attracts you? JRW: Culture (or the Human) and Nature are like the ‘two’ sides of a Mobius loop – at the same time opposite and one. Landscape is as much a human artefact as it is ‘natural’. Humans – which Stephen J. Pyne calls the “walking firestick”– have been reshaping the world for tens of thousands of years.6 With a few exceptions, untamed wilderness really means humans do not live here, anymore. For some reason it is easier for me to make poetry out of the ugly, damaged and abandoned than out of the more obviously beautiful. Points of change, places of




transition and abandoned places grab me for some reason. I do not really know why. Yeats knew a thing or two: It was the dream itself enchanted me: Character isolated by a deed To engross the present and dominate memory. Players and painted stage took all my love, And not those things that they were emblems of. Those masterful images because complete Grew in pure mind, but out of what began? A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street, Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can, Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone, I must lie down where all the ladders start In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.7

GB: Has being able to expand into the studio at Braidwood been one of the most important things about living and working here? JRW: Yes it was, in fact one important reason for the move was so we could build a big studio. GB: The paintings in Here I give thanks are often cinematic, all enveloping – even the concertina books seem to be a way to carry around a large landscape. JRW: In terms of the cinematic, when I was a teenager I would go on the weekends

to the Sydney University Union to watch the great classic films by Kurosawa, Orson Welles, Jean Renoir and so on. I think that they, much more than art, have had a profound influence on how I think visually. It was also an escape from the boredom of Peakhurst on a weekend. Kurosawa’s Rashomon in particular had a lasting effect on me. And in general I really love the way Kurosawa constructs time, space and memory in his films. GB: I’m interested in the idea of viewing as participatory not just a passive thing. JRW: Author Paul Carter in his book Ground Truthing, meditates on the Mallee as place and as history in a way that resonates with me. “A Humean event is [likened to] a metalled crossroads”…[where] … “the past of the travelers who might meet at this crossing is annulled: all that counts (that will enter history) is the event...” In contrast, in a Moivrean event, history is a tangled, recursive skein of time, place and memory. Carter concludes: In this kind of history the whole ‘tree’ of ramifying might-have-beens is kept in play. These other scenarios of imagined community, replenished


A walk at Hill End (detail), 2002, concertina artist book (gouache on paper), 26 x 621cm (unfolded). Photography: Sean Davey.


bush, reconciled spirits and benevolent meteorologies, are what is marked in the scribble of the bush. They lie in its ground patterns, in the multiply-stemmed mallee trees, in the ‘crooked’ ways through the scrub, and in the strangely coherent eidetic grammar of the place - where bars of cirrus cloud, the impression of a hawk’s wing and the charcoaled traces of mallee twig on skin seem to be phrases from the same score.8

When I first read these words I thought: that is so close to what I see. For me the process of painting, of building a work over time, is embodied thinking. Paintings are intrinsically coded and embodied ‘representations’, (a kind of isomorphism), and they only fully ‘exist’ when another mind-eye reinterprets that representation or code back into an image, a movement of mind, constructing a representation of that representation. As Douglas R. Hofstadter has famously said “content is fancy form”.9 GB: I recently saw a very dark figurative drawing of yours from your first show that was claustrophobic, spiky and intense.10 I just wonder if that sort of ‘ugliness’ is possible for you anymore? It was from your first show so you have changed a lot as a person but does your work now set a different tone or do you think you are still fundamentally the same?

JRW: That is a hard question! Obviously in one sense I am the same person I was, and obviously, I am also not the same. In those days I suffered from, at times, fairly extreme anxiety-depression. While it never completely goes away, I am much less subject to the black dog these days. Perhaps my work reflects that change. Another aspect to this is that quite a lot of the work I have done has not been publicly exhibited (or exhibited once only). Much of my work has gone directly into private collections and some is in my personal collection. GB: Tell me what do you think is the biggest difference between being an urban/ big city artist and rural one? JRW: When I was in Sydney, I had a studio on the 3rd floor of a building on Parramatta Road in Stanmore. I couldn’t just walk out of the building and walk around as easily as I can now. In hindsight, there was something slightly claustrophobic and narrow about my life as an artist in Sydney. And because real estate is much cheaper in the country, we have more resources for traveling, and do so more often these days. In contrast in Sydney we were essentially running flat


out, to stand still. Living in the city among a smallish community of like-minded artists and arts-related types was in some ways limiting. GB: Do you feel part of a different kind of community in Braidwood? JRW: Living in a small town like Braidwood you get to meet and know a greater range of people across a broad spectrum of economic levels and political views: the sane and insane, pastoral and service workers. It’s different to life in our cities, where housing costs mean that postcodes are quite accurate shorthand for fairly homogenous demographic groupings. There is also a fair bit of ‘edge’ to living in the country: bushfires, drought, floods, death and poverty are much more palpable. And the closer-knit nature of community means you are more likely to know people who are struggling than in the anomie of the city. GB: As an artist do you feel isolated? Isolation can lead to developing your work – living in your own head – but Braidwood is quite urbane in its own way. JRW: I do not feel any more isolated, or alone as an artist, here than I did in Sydney. And yes, Braidwood is not too isolated and

has some very good food, coffee and friendly conversation. It is not very hard to get to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. We do travel – and there is a surprising amount of connectedness between Braidwood and Sydney/Melbourne. Living in Braidwood, I feel that I am able to be ‘present enough’ in Sydney or Canberra, and yet be not too easily seen or distracted by the noise and trivia. As Matisse once said, “Solitude and silence; only the mediocre need fear it”.

1 The title of the exhibition also references Colin McCahon’s Here I Give Thanks to Mondrian (1961) 2 http://johnrwalker.com.au/gardening-recipes/ accessed 1/6/2015 3 email to the author 1/6/2015 4 The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on A Century in the Garden, Stanley Kuntiz with Genine Lentine, W.W. Norton, New York 2005 5 Words: Walter Chalmers Smith, 1867 tune is based on St Denio, a Welsh ballad 6 Stephen J. Pyne is an academic based at Arizona State Univer- sity whose specialisation is the cultural, historical and environ mental role of fire see http://www.stephenpyne.com/index.htm 7 William Butler Yeats, The Circus Animals’ Desertion, 1938 8 Paul Carter, Ground Truthing: Explorations in a Creative Region, UWA Publishing, Perth, 2010, p 46 9 Douglas R. Hofstadter wrote the seminal book, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Walker first read it in 1980 and it has been important to his thinking about representation ever since. In his book Metamagical Themas, Hofstadter, while commenting on GEB, elucidated on isomorphism and meaing: “Semantics is an emergent quality of complex syntax, which harks back to my earlier remark in the Post Scriptum to Chapter 1, namely: ‘Content is fancy form’.” 10 1979, The Student Gallery – later Mori Gallery


Installation view courtesy of the Drill Hall Gallery



John R Walker Biography

Born 7 February, 1957 Lives and works in Braidwood, NSW

1976-78 Alexander Mackie College, Sydney, Art Diploma 1975-76 St. George Technical College, Kogarah, Art Certificate.

1989 1988 1986 1985 1984 1982 1979

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions

2015 ‘Here I give thanks’, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, ACT ‘Here I give thanks’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2014 ‘Terroir: Big Land Pictures’, Orange Regional Gallery, NSW ‘The End of All Our Exploring’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Recollections’, Moree Plains Gallery, NSW 2012 ‘Winter in the Fire Forest’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2011 ‘Space & Time: 10 Years in the Landscape’ Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW ‘Site’ Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2010 ‘The Shed’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2008 ‘Journey through Landscape’, S. H. Ervin Gallery, NSW ‘Gateless Gate’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2007 ‘Working in the Landscape’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2005 ‘Gullies, Roads, Dry Lands and Forests’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2004 ‘Dry Land Paintings’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2003 ‘Paintings from Tallaganda’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2002 ‘Paintings from Bundanon’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2000 ‘Gully’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1999 ‘Paintings for a New Republic’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1997 ‘The House of the Stare’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1994 ‘In a Free State’, Tamworth City Gallery, NSW ‘Pictures from Home’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1993 ‘New Paintings’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1992 ‘Recent Works’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘New Sculpture’, Austral Gallery, St Louis, USA 1991 ‘Favourite Paintings’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Recent Figures’, Austral Gallery, St Louis, USA 1990 ‘Drawings’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne ‘Austral Gallery’, St Louis, USA

2015 ‘Chroma: the Jim Cobb gift’, Orange Regional Gallery, NSW ‘The 3 Amigos’, Weswal Gallery, Tamworth, NSW ‘Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW ‘Country & Western: Landscape Re-Imagined’, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, NSW ‘Sydney Contemporary 2015’, Carriageworks, Sydney, NSW 2014 ‘Drawing Out: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize’, National Art School Gallery, NSW ‘Artist – Book’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW Amaze Gallery, State Library of New South Wales, NSW ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 2013 ‘The Salon’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Angus Nivison & Friends: Christopher Hodges, Helen Eager & John R. Walker’, Walcha Gallery of Art, NSW ‘No Boundaries’, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre, VIC ‘LANDSCAPE’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2012 ‘Bronze’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘paperworks’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Repertoire’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Big Scope: painting and place’, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW 2011 ‘Heads’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Salon des Refuses’ S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Alone off the Press’ Braidwood, NSW ‘Up Close and Personal: works from the collection of Dr Peter Elliott AM’, S. H. Ervin Gallery, NSW ‘Fleurieu Art Prize’, Hardys Winery, McLaren Vale, SA 2010 ‘Museum III’ Utopia Art Sydney, NSW

Education

‘Figures on Paper’, Austral Gallery, St Louis, USA ‘Utopia Art Sydney’, NSW ‘Recent Painting’, Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne, VIC ‘Deceit, Desire & Narcissus’, Mori Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Tolarno Gallery’, Melbourne, VIC ‘The Family’, Mori Gallery, Sydney, NSW Mori Gallery, Sydney, NSW The Student Gallery (later renamed Mori Gallery), Sydney, NSW


John R Walker Biography - continued

‘The Wynne Prize’ Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘two six two two’, Goulburn Regional Gallery, NSW ‘Melbourne Art Fair 2010’, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC ‘KIAF 2010, Korea International Art Fair’, COEX, Seoul, Korea 2009 ‘pinned & framed’ Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘The Power of Print’, NG Art Gallery, NSW ‘Mono Uno: Australian Monotypes in the Charles Sturt University Art Collection’ Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (the EMSLA)’, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW ‘The 23 Annual Packsaddle Selling Exhibition’, New England Regional Art Museum, NSW 2008 ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘The Melbourne Art Fair 2008’, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Vic ‘North South East West’ Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Art of the Nude: Work from the collection of Alex Mackay’ Albury Art Gallery NSW 2007 ‘Salon des Refuses’, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 2006 ‘Being at Bundanon’, Mosman Region Art Gallery, NSW (toured by Bundanon Trust), ‘The Big Picture’, The Delmar Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘The Archibald Prize 06’, Art Gallery of New South Wales and touring, NSW ‘View of Maitland from the riverbank’, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, NSW ‘Chroma Collection’, Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Truth and Likeness’, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT ‘The Melbourne Art Fair 2006’. Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne VIC 2005 ‘Moist’, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and touring, ACT ‘Friends and Neighbours – Togetherness’, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor, NSW

‘Bleak Epiphanies’, Virginia Wilson Art, Sydney, NSW ‘Museum II’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘The Archibald Prize 05’, Art Gallery of New South Wales and touring, NSW ‘New Ideas 2005’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘2005 Robert Jacks Drawing Prize’, Bendigo Art Gallery, VIC ‘Same Place Many Views’, Defiance Gallery, Sydney, NSW Hazelhurst Art Award 2005 - Art on Paper, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, NSW Marea Gazzard ‘the odyssey’ & John R Walker ‘dry land paintings’, Silvershot, Melbourne, VIC ‘Country Energy Art Prize for Landscape Painting’, Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW 2004 Melbourne Art Fair 2004, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC ‘Depth of Field – Anamorphosis’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘A Stroke of Art’, The Gallery, NSW Parliament House, Sydney, NSW 2003 ‘Bloomsday Door Exhibition’, Arthouse Hotel, Sydney, NSW ‘A Stroke of Art’, The Gallery, NSW Parliament House, Sydney, NSW ‘The Archibald Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition, NSW ‘The Wynne Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘The Archibald Prize’, touring exhibition to NSW and VIC venues ‘Arthur Guy Memorial painting Prize’, Bendigo Art Gallery, VIC 2002 ‘The Year In Review’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award’, Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW ‘The Fleurieu Prize’, Mclaren Vale, SA ‘Conrad Jupiters Art Prize’, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD ‘Melbourne Art Fair 2002’, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC ‘Salon des Refuses’, S H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘The Wynne and Sulman Prizes’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW


John R Walker Biography - continued

‘Sculpture 2002’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Solstice’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 2001 ‘Museum’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Gone Bush’, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, NSW ‘8th International Works on Paper Fair’, Fox Studios Australia, Sydney, NSW ‘Over the Back Fence’, Bowen Galleries, Wellington, NZ ‘The Archibald’, ‘Wynne’ and ‘Sulman Prizes’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘Bat, Ball & Brush – A Summer of Cricket & Art’, Sydney Cricket Ground, NSW 2001, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘The Archibald Prize’, touring exhibition to NSW and VIC venues 2000 ‘Melbourne Art Fair 2000’, Royal Exhibition Hall, Melbourne, VIC ‘The Archibald Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales and NSW regional tour ‘SCEGGS Redlands-Westpac Invitational Art Prize’, Cremorne, Sydney, NSW ‘Bloomsday Lunch Exhibition’, ASN Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW ‘Half Metre Square’, Work by teaching staff, National Art School, Sydney, NSW ‘Landscape’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Encore’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1999 ‘7thInternational Works on Paper Fair’, Fox Studios, Sydney, NSW ‘Mosman Art Prize’, Mosman Region Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘University and Schools Club Prize Exhibition’, University and Schools Club, Sydney, NSW 1998 ‘National Works on Paper Award’, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery,VIC ‘Bloomsday: Joyce & the Nymph’, Coach House Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW ‘Symbiosis’, New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale and Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘ACAF 6’, Royal Exhibition Hall, Melbourne, VIC ‘Kedumba Invitation Drawing Award’, Leura, NSW 1997 ‘Faces of Hope’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘Drawn from Life’, National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition, ACT ‘6th International Works on Paper Fair’, State Library of

New South Wales, NSW ‘Bronze’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Portraits’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Nineteeninetyseven’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW 1996 ‘The Theresa Byrnes Foundation’, Westpac Art Auction, Westpac Plaza, Sydney, NSW ‘ACAF 5’, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC ‘Return from the Art Fair’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Paperwork’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘The Gesture’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Flagging the Republic’, Sherman Galleries and New England Regional Art Museum touring exhibition, NSW 1995 ‘Ironsides’, The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, NSW ‘The King of the Accordian’, New England Regional Art Museum touring exhibition, NSW ‘Works On Paper’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘5th International Works on Paper Fair’, State Library of New South Wales, NSW 1994 ‘ACAF 4’, Royal Exhibition Hall, Melbourne, VIC 1993 ‘Contemporary Australian Painting’, Works from the Allen Allen and Hemsley Collection, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne and Newcastle Regional Gallery, VIC and NSW 1992 ‘On the Dark Side’, New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW ‘ACAF3’, Royal Exhibition Hall, Melbourne, VIC The Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 1991 ‘Images of Sydney’, Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Images of Women from the Holmes a’Court Collection’, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘The Sulman Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 1990 ‘The Annunciation’, Mandorla Art Prize, New Norcia, WA ‘Windsor and Newton Painting Prize’, Coventry Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘Religious Images in Australian Art’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘The Sulman Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW ‘King of the Mountain’, Noosa Regional Gallery, QLD ‘Visual Instincts’, Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney, NSW ‘New Year New Art’, Utopia Art, Sydney, NSW 1989 ‘Opening’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Intimate Drawings’, Coventry Gallery, Sydney, NSW 1988 ‘Drawing in the 80s’, Australian National Gallery,


John R Walker Biography - continued

Canberra, ACT ‘Drawing’, Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne, VIC ‘Savage Club Invitation Drawing Prize’, Savage Club, Melbourne, VIC 1987 ‘From Field to Figuration’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘Backlash’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘Best of Young Australians from the Budget Collection’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘Urban Anxieties’, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, ACT 1986 ‘A First Look’, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, ACT ‘Symbolism and Landscape’, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Biennale of Sydney Satellite Exhibition, NSW ‘Modern Australian Masters’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘Ballarat Invitation Prize’, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, VIC 1985 ‘The Pleasure of the Gaze’, Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA 1984 ‘Drawing Now’, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC ‘Survey ‘84’, Michael Milburn Galleries, Brisbane, QLD 1983 ‘D’un Autre Continent: L’Australie, le reve et le real’, Musee D’Art Moderne, Paris ‘Australian Perspecta’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 1982 ‘McCaughey Prize Exhibition’, National Gallery, Melbourne, VIC 1979 ‘Eight by Four’, Students Gallery (later Mori Gallery), Sydney, NSW Collections

Artbank, Allens + Linklaters, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Artworks Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, ACT Legislative Assembly, Bankers Trust, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Griffith University Collection, Holmes A’ Court Collection, James Wolfensohn Collection, Macquarie Group Collection Myer Collection, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, New England Regional Art Museum, New Parliament House, Canberra, Phillip Morris Collection, Smorgon Collection, State Library of New South Wales, The Savage Club Collection, The

University of Sydney Union, The Australia Club, Sydney, University of New South Wales, Western Mining Corporation, Wollongong City Art Gallery

Publication inclusions 2015 Glenn Barkley, ‘Here I Give Thanks’, exhibition catalogue, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, ACT Sasha Grishin, ‘Here I Give Thanks by John R Walker pays homage to Boyd’, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 2015 John Zubrzycki, ‘John R Walker: The catching point’, Art Monthly Australia, August 2015 Gavin Wilson, ‘Country & Western: Landscape Re- Imagined’, Artist Profile, issue 32 Bradley Hammond, Chroma: the Jim Cobb gift, Orange Regional Gallery, NSW [exhibition catalogue] 2014 Leah Haynes, ‘Art Notes’, Art Monthly Australia, March 2014, number 267 Nicole Kuter, ‘Artist deals with the big picture for the first time’, Central Western Daily, 15 March, 2014 Exhibition brief, ‘John R Walker: The End of All Our Exploring’, Art Almanac, April 2014 Gina Fairley, ‘John R Walker: The End of all Our Exploring’, ArtsHub [online], 1 April 2014 Stella Rosa McDonald, ‘A Matter of Taste: The Redlands Konika Minolta Art Prize’, The Art Life, April 2014 Andrew Flatau, ‘At the Gallery: Legend still in the picture with Alan Sisley gallery’, Central Western Daily, 5 April, 2014’ Katrina Rumley, ‘Recollections’, Moree Plains Gallery, NSW, 2014 Sharon Verghis, ‘Drawing Conclusions’, The Australian - Review, 9 November 2014 John McDonald, ‘Art Gallery of NSW ‘Drawing Out’ exhibition shows how sketches reveal more than words’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2014 John McDonald, ‘Drawing Out, the inaugural Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial is now on at the Art Gallery of NSW’, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 2014 Anne Ryan, ‘Drawing Out: Dobell Australian drawing biennial 2014’, Look Magazine, November 2014 Anne Ryan, ‘Drawing Out: Dobell Australian drawing


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biennial 2014’ [exhibition catalogue] Art Gallery of New South Wales, 21 November 2014 – 26 January 2015 2013 Gavin Fry, The Peter Elliott Collection of Australian Art, The Beagle Press Katrina Rumley, ‘Widening Horizons: The Moree Plains Gallery Collection’, 2013 2012 The Macquarie Group Collection: the Land and its Psyche, Editors: Julian Beaumont, Felicity Fenner and John McDonald, UNSW Press Chloe Watson, ‘Winter in the Fire Forest’ in exhibition online catalogue, Utopia Art Sydney. ‘His eyes wide shut on an indelible landscape’, Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, 24 October, 2012. Alexander Sussman, ‘John R Walker artist books’, State Library of New South Wales Acquisitions Blog, 27th November 2011 Chloe Watson, ‘Site’ (pamphlet), Utopia Art Sydney ‘Space & Time: 10 Years in the Landscape – John R Walker’, exhibition catalogue, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 7 October – 4 December 2011 (essays by Andrew Sayers and Joe Eisenberg) 2010 Artist Profile, ‘John R Walker responds to Joe Frost’s article “Bad words and thoughts”,issue 12: Mag- blog, August 2010 ‘Naturally Inspired’, Nigel Featherstone, Panorama, Canberra Times, 10 September, 2010 2009 Arts Etcetera ‘Walker finalist in Wynne Prize’ Bungendore Mirror, March 11. Mono Uno catalogue, Australian Monotypes in the Charles Sturt University Art Collection ‘John R. Walker Interviewed’, Artist Profile # 6, March 2009, pp. 28 - 35 2008 ‘No Thanks, I Don’t Want the Money’, Australian Financial Review, Perspective, Sep 10 - 11 Journey through Landscape podcast interview with Sean O’Brien, May 2008: http://arttalk.podomatic. com/entry/2008-05-09T02_10_17-07_00 Critics’ Choice - ‘John R. Walker Journey Through Landscape’ Time Out Magazine, May 21 - 27 ‘Poetry through Landscape – Poetic interpretations of the artworks of John R. Walker’, DiVerse, At the S. H. Ervin Gallery Art Talk: Talking to Artists and Curators, Sean O’Brien May 2008 at the S. H. Ervin Gallery transcript

John R. Walker, Journey Through Landscape Media Archive, National Trust, S. H. Ervin Gallery ‘Secrets of the Self Unearthed’, John McDonald, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, June 7-8. ‘Lure of the Land’, Libby Peacock, Panorama, The Canberra Times, May 31st. ‘Exposing the Scars on Nature’, Elizabeth Fortescue, Sydney Live, Daily Telegraph, 27th May. ‘Walker Retrospective at S. H. Ervin’, press release, Bungedore Mirror, 21st May. ‘Journey Through Landscape’, What’s On, Central Magazine, 21st May. Critics Choice, Time Out Sydney, 21st – 27th May. John R. Walker, Journey Through Landscape, What’s On, Time Out Magazine, June 4th – 17th. Event Diary, Sunday Arts, ABC TV Sunday 5pm, 6th June. Whats On Elsewhere, Look Magazine. John R. Walker, Journey Through Landscape, ‘Exhibitions’ section: National Trust Magazine, Winter 2008 2007 Essay by Andrew Sayers in Working in the Landscape, (cat), Utopia Art Sydney “The best of the rest actually the best”, Sebastian Smee, The Australian, 8 March, p,14 “Anything goes in the silly season”, John McDonald, SMH Spectrum, 24-24 March 2007, pp16-17 “Robert Kennedy – Salon des Refuses 2007”, State of the Arts Online/reviews, 2 March 2007 Painting Australia, ABC TV series Episode #3, 11 April, 2007 2006 Art in Restaurants, Australian Art Review, p82 Archibald 06 (cat), Art Gallery of New South Wales Winter Crow, a collection of poems by Jeremy Nelson, illustrations by John R Walker “Is the truth of portraiture vested exclusively in likeness?”, Michael Desmond, Portrait 21, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. CAPO Annual Auction 2006 (cat), Canberra Arts Patrons Organization, Canberra 2004 Australian Artist, No.253 July 2005, p.25 Archibald 05 (cat), Art Gallery of New South Wales Essay by Simeon Kronenburg in being at Bundanon (cat), Bundanon Trust touring exhibition Essay by William Wright in Gullies, Road, Dry Lands and Forests (cat), Utopia Art Sydney


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Moist: Australian Watercolours (cat), National Gallery of Australia “Moist: Australian Watercolours 27 August-4 December 2005”, Anne McDonald, Artonview, Spring 2004 “Art Now”, Laura Murray Cree, State of the Arts Magazine (The Design Issue), July - September 2003 “Generations of Collecting”, Jenna Price, Australian Art Collector, July-September 2003 Australian Artist, No.12 Vol. XIX, June 2003, p.29 2002 “Experiencing the Land”, Simeon Kronenberg, Asian Art News Vol.12 No.2 March/April 2002 “Money and Collecting”, Michael Reid, The Weekend Australian 20-21 April “Critics Picks”, Victoria Hynes, SMH Metro 26 April - 2 May “The Plains: Wimmera and the imaging of the Australian Landscape”, Simeon Kronenberg, Art Monthly, November 2001, #45 “Days in Body Country”, Simeon Kronenberg, Artlink, June 2002, Vol.22 #2 Paintings from Bundanon, (cat) Simeon Kronenberg, Utopia Art Sydney 2001 “Gone Bush: Artists in the Royal”, Tracy Sorensen, St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, October 18 Over the back fence (cat), Bowen Galleries, NZ Gone Bush (cat), Jennifer Hardy, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, NSW Australian Artist, Vol.XVII No.11, May 2001, p.49 2000 Beyond the Fatal Shore, Interview with Robert Hughes, Episode #6 BBC TV series “The Odds on the Archibald”, Sebastian Smee, SMH, March 16 “On the Canvas”, Elizabeth Fortescue, Daily Telegraph, March 15 “Go you good thing”, Sharon Vergis, SMH, March 15 “Framed and they’ve got form”, Darren Knight and John McDonald, SMH, March 15 “Hanging out for the Archibald”, Giles Auty, The Australian “Frame and Fortune”, Edmund Capon, SMH, March 20 Australian Artist, Vol. XVI No.12 June 2000, p.21 “Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed”, Sebastian Smee, SMH Metro May 26 “Utopia Art”, Andrew G Frost, Australian Art Collector, Issue #8

1998 “Interview with collector, Hugh Jamieson”, Australian Art Collector Issue #2 1997 “Porn Again NETurally”, Sebastian Smee, SMH Metro, October 24 Faces of Hope (cat), Amnesty International Drawn from Life (cat), Deborah Edwards and Andrew Sayers, National Gallery of Australia 1995 King of the Accordian (cat), J. Eisenberg, New England Regional Art Museum, NSW 1994 Who’s Who of Australian Artists, National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA) The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, revised and updated by Susan McCulloch Contemporary Australian Painting from the Allen Allen and Hemsley Collection (cat.) 1992 Communicative Abstraction/Philosophical Reflections, Rudolf Talmacs, Utopia Art Sydney On the Dark Side (cat), Belinda Cotton, New England, Regional Art Museum, NSW King of the Mountain (cat), Noosa Regional Gallery, Queensland 1990 Artists and Galleries of Australia Volume II 1990, Max Germaine, Craftsman House Press Images of Religion in Australian Art (cat), Rosemary Crumlin, Bay Books 1988 Australian Contemporary Drawing; Resurgence and Redefinition, Arthur McIntyre, Boolarong Press 1987 Best of Young Australians Exhibition from the Budget Collection (cat.), National Gallery of Victoria 1986 Drawing in Australia, Contemporary images and ideas, Janet McKenzie, Macmillan, Melbourne Backlash: The Australian Drawing Revival 1976-1986 (cat), Ted Gott, National Gallery of Victoria 1986 6th Biennale of Sydney: Origins Originality + Beyond (cat), satellite exhibition, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney Review “Pleasure of the Gaze”, ArtNetwork, Summer- Autumn 1986, p.19 1985 Pleasure of the Gaze (cat), Art Gallery of Western Australia 1984 Australian Art Review, Leon Parossien 1983 Australian Perspecta (cat), Bernice Murphy, Art Gallery of New South Wales D’Un Autre Continent: L’Australie le reve et le real (cat), Musee D’Art Moderne, Paris


John R Walker Biography - continued

Awards and Commissions 2015 Highly commended, Wynne Prize, AGNSW 2009 Winner Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (EMSLA) Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW 2002 Highly Commended, Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1998 BT Australia, 400 George St, Sydney 1990 Windsor and Newton Painting Prize, Coventry Gallery, Sydney 1988 Savage Club Drawing Prize, Melbourne 1982 Tamarisque Prize, Alexander Mackie College, Sydney Teaching experience 2007 “Walking the Landscape”, Art Workshops Australia, Byron Bay, QLD 2000 “Drawing the Nude”, Workshop, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, NSW 1998-2000 Painting lecturer, National Art School, Sydney Life Drawing teacher, National Institute of Dramatic Art, UNSW 2000 Visiting lecturer in Drawing and Painting, Calrossy School, Tamworth 1987-94 Art Program Co-ordinator, Panania East Hills Vocational Skillshare 1988-89 Drawing teacher, College of Fine Art, UNSW 1987 Visiting lecturer, Canberra School of Art, ANU Scholarships & Residencies 2002 Hill End Artist in Residence (invited artist) 2002 Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence 2001 Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence (invited artist) 2001 New England Artist in Residence (invited artist) 2000 National Art School Staff Travelling Scholarship 2000 New England Regional Art Museum Artist’s Travel Scholarship



John R Walker Here I give thanks

31 October - 21 November, 2015

Utopia Art Sydney 2 Danks Street Waterloo NSW 2017 Telephone: + 61 2 9699 2900 email: utopiaartsydney@ozemail.com.au www.utopiaartsydney.com.au Š Utopia Art Sydney



Utopia Art Sydney 2 Danks Street Waterloo NSW 2017 Telephone: + 61 2 9699 2900 email: utopiaartsydney@ozemail.com.au www.utopiaartsydney.com.au