Approved: 16.08.2006

Mike Walker

Artist, Lecturer / academic, Writer

Approved: 16.08.2006

There are certain key words that I use to describe to myself what is happening in my paintings.  One of those words is field.  These paintings are fields: there is a surface, an area of activity, and I look for ways of filling that surface and keeping a tension across every part of it.  On the whole I’m using what have come to be called all-over fields, in which each part of the field is as important as every other part.  You can do that by having very little going on or, as with my paintings, having an awful lot going on.  I fill that field to bursting point but I do so using sections: I divide the field up into sections early on, sometimes right at the beginning, and each section is a small version of the field as a whole.  Sometimes the sections are very obvious but at others their boundaries have been so over-run you can hardly see them at all.  There is a continuous tension, from one work to the next, between the way these individual sections assert themselves and their absorption into the overall field.

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Artist Statement

There are certain key words that I use to describe to myself what is happening in my paintings.  One of those words is field.  These paintings are fields: there is a surface, an area of activity, and I look for ways of filling that surface and keeping a tension across every part of it.  On the whole I’m using what have come to be called all-over fields, in which each part of the field is as important as every other part.  You can do that by having very little going on or, as with my paintings, having an awful lot going on.  I fill that field to bursting point but I do so using sections: I divide the field up into sections early on, sometimes right at the beginning, and each section is a small version of the field as a whole.  Sometimes the sections are very obvious but at others their boundaries have been so over-run you can hardly see them at all.  There is a continuous tension, from one work to the next, between the way these individual sections assert themselves and their absorption into the overall field.

 

What might not come across in this description is that the field is charged: it is an activated space, like a magnetic field, and every mark is a kind of force that operates across it.  When I’m painting I am in that field and each new line is connected to all previous lines and, in turn, is suggestive of the next.  There is an inter-relatedness to everything that happens within the borders of the field.  What is also hard to describe is the way in which another boundary – that between myself and not myself – is dissolved in this process.  There is no separation between thinking and the painting coming into being or, to put that another way, painting is thinking; making the painting is the formulation of the thought of the painting, it is coming into being as it progresses as surely as thinking of what to say or making music.  What I have also come to realise, or rather to understand through reading Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s writings, is the way in which we think through our bodies.  Painting, it seems to me, is one of the clearest manifestations of this idea.

 

If these works evoke Jackson Pollock’s paintings then it isn’t because I am in any way trying to imitate or pastiche those paintings, it is rather because Pollock was one of the first artists, in my view, to express his thinking in this way.  I do not worry too much about influence.  I allow myself to make the paintings I want to make.  There are many other factors that have gone into their development and thematic, or perhaps metaphorical, concerns that are interwoven with formal considerations but for the most part I leave these unstated, preferring to let the viewer read into them what they will.

 

 

CV & Education

Solo exhibitions

2014 - Sequence, Gallery Muse, Petersfield

2011 - Paintings for a Light Room, Claremont Studios, Hastings

2008 - Paintings, The Bowery, Leeds

2006 - Music for a Light Room / Music for a Dark Room with composer Bryn Harrison, Exeter Phoenix, commissioned for tEXt 06, Exeter

2006 - Recent Paintings, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax

2005 - Linden Sequences, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal

2004 - Linden Sequences, ArtsMill Gallery, Hebden Bridge

 

Group exhibitions

2016 - 'Both Ends of Madness'  APT Gallery, Deptford

2013 - Unity Arts at the Guildhall, Chichester  

2013 - Kings Hill, Kent 

2010 - East Sussex Contemporary Art Fair, The School, Rye

2008 - Mike Walker & Heather Boxall, University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster

2006 - Northern Contemporary Artists, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax

2004 - Leeds Open, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds

2004 - New Ink 2, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax

2003 - Summer Exhibition, Dragon Design, London

 

Publications  

2016                Nici Bungey: Approaching the Edge, catalogue essay, Soho Revue Gallery, London

2013                Illustrations for overcoming form: reflections on immersive music, Richard Glover and Bryn Harrison, University of Huddersfield Press

2012                Post-Conceptual Art Practice 3, Mark Howland: Personal Space, University of   Kent Press

2012                Post-Conceptual Art Practice 2, Interview with Angus Pryor, University of Kent   Press

2012                Richard Nott: Unearthed, catalogue essay, New Millennium Gallery, St.Ives, August 2012

2009                Petra McCarthy: Recent Paintings, text for exhibition at Rebecca Hossacks   Gallery, on-line at www.r-h-g.co.uk, no longer available