Picture box paintings
Private View Saturday 16th May 2015, 11am-6pm
Exhibition 16th May-20th June
It takes a moment or two to pinpoint one’s reaction to the paintings of Ben Walker. Is our discomfort because the images seem borrowed unbidden, jackdawed from something familiar, as if stolen from a personal memory? Or is the unease actually a sensation of pleasure, at a snapshot of a fleeting past, captured and preserved in a precise moment of innocence that had been forgotten until now, suddenly released like a bird or seed-head? It all makes sense when the artist explains how his pictures happen. “I use photos and other ‘found’ source materials such as old children’s book illustrations for my paintings. Over the last year or so I have become interested in making representations of childhood rooted in the past, often 1970s and 80s,” he says. “It has to be a scene or composition I feel I can translate into paint and I think the act of translating the image means it becomes mine. It’s impossible to say how I choose some images over others. I like simple compositions and I try to show a lot with very little,” often leaving out something substantial from the original, “so the painted image is a simplified condensed version.”
Ben Walker maintains he doesn’t begin his pictures with a story, that at first it is more about depicting or expressing a mood. “Often it’s only when they are complete that I begin to think stories could be read into them.” That’s where we come in. It is our turn to tell those stories at Jack House Gallery.