A_Place Gallery is delighted to present Kildrum, a solo exhibition by Richard Walker.

In this exhibition Richard Walker presents two related but distinct methods of work. The smaller paintings are made in one concentrated sitting. They are made in observation of ‘sets’ that Walker constructs in the studio - timber, cloth, card, mirrors and other objects and detritus arranged as a temporary installation. With the studio blacked-out, the set is then lit with lamps, studio lighting and digital projections of an assortment of disparate images, often altered or distorted, of historical paintings, other work made by the artist, film stills or photographs. In the darkened environment, Walker embarks on an intense period of painterly activity, working wet-in-wet, an intuitive process of mark-making with deep connections to drawing, often making alterations to the sets and lighting along the way. The resulting paintings are alive with the moment-by-moment decisions, the depiction of light and shadow cast, reflected, refracted. Shape, line and colour are a record of the way the artist has seen and interpreted the scene before him, but often the viewer will see other objects and patterns suggested, allowing for a multiplicity of readings to emerge.
In contrast, the large-scale painting “Kildrum” demonstrates Walker’s second method in his practice. Derived from the smaller paintings, which are scaled up and drawn onto large sheets of plywood, the shapes, brushstrokes and lines are cut out with a jigsaw to be painted individually and then re-assembled into the whole. This system was devised by Walker as a means to get at the issue of ‘big' painting, where the freshness, vitality and efficacy achieved in small painting is sometimes lost when scaled up in large works. By working at a much slower pace and painting each section individually, Walker can play more liberally with the application of paint - sometimes thin washes to reveal the wood grain, encaustic grounds, gluing down canvas or using unconventional tools like a squeegee. This method preserves the qualities often lost in translation between small and large painting.
Returning to an idea Walker has explored previously, the large painting includes actual photographic images. Photography is a consistent concern for Walker and is usually a much more obscured phenomenon in most other work. Here, the enduring influence of Japanese woodcuts (in particular by Kuniyoshi, Kunisada and Yoshitoshi) is present, where an unrelated image might be inserted into a scene, for example a portrait within a landscape. The images here are of Kildrum primary school where Walker attended in Cumbernauld, a modernist building now demolished. Originally the intention was to insert two small paintings, but as the work developed, it began to suggest an unintended reading to do with his own family and the merging of past and present. Along with the ethereal overall blue, the shapes, patterns, silhouettes and armatures result in a painting with an emergent concern with memory.
Present at every level in Walker’s work is an interest in contrast. Light and shadow; abstraction and representation; observation and interpretation; quick and intense, slow and deliberate. Walker often remarks how he wants the viewer to be able to look at a painting for a long time. That his work resists an easy reading is intentional. And yet, this challenge posed by the artist invites the observer to consider more deeply what - and how - it is we are seeing.

Richard Walker (b.1955 Cumbernauld) lives and works in Ayrshire. He was a tutor at the Glasgow School of Art from 2009 - 2022.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Scene, A-M-G5, Glasgow (2023); Thick, iota Gallery, Glasgow (2022); Studio Paintings, Reid Gallery, Glasgow School of Art (2014); House Paintings, Alexandre Gallery, New York (2012/13); Andrew Mummery Gallery, London (2003); Recent Paintings, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (1999).
Selected group exhibitions include: Opening, A_Place Gallery, Glasgow, (2023); Moderato Cantabile, S&D Projects, London (2022); Luxon Academy of Fine Art, China (2020); Whisper Down The Lane, Gallery 400 University of Illinois (2013); Ever Since I Put Your Picture In A Frame, 42 Carlton Place, Glasgow (2012); Urban Living, Fleming Collection, London (2004); The Persistence of Painting, CCA, Glasgow (1995); John Moores 15, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (1987).
Selected residencies/awards: Royal Scottish Academy, Haining House (2011); Albers Foundation, Connecticut, USA (2005); Creative Scotland Award, Scottish Arts Council (2012); Pollock/Krasner Award, New York (2001); Elizabeth Greenshields Award, Quebec (1983).
2 February - 23 February
Preview Friday 2 February, 6 - 9PM

Painting, 27 x 30 cm, pigment and emulsion binder on panel, 2023

Untitled, 51 x 73 cm, oil on board, 2023

Cave, 52 x 73 cm, oil on board, 2023

Kildrum, 205 x 359 cm, pigment and emulsion binder on plywood, 2019

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