Cover image of the review
Jonathan Walker, Untitled, 1991 - 92 , oil on linen, 172 x 172 cm. Courtesy the artist’s estate. Photo: Garry Sommerfield

Jonathan Walker: Capturing Details Usually Screened

6 May 2023
Bayside Gallery 11 Mar - 7 May 2023

No one that I mentioned the Jonathan Walker retrospective to had heard of Jonathan Walker. Before visiting Capturing Details Usually Screened, neither had I. The only people who did know of Walker had either met him directly or knew people who had known him. Walker’s relative obscurity is heightened by the exhibition’s location—Bayside Gallery in Brighton. The setting is appropriate because Walker lived most of his life in neighbouring Hampton. Critically though, the distant location (I am writing here from the perspective of a lifelong Northern suburbs habitué) maintains Walker’s peripheral relationship  towards the Australian art world.

While Walker did have early to mid–career success, regularly exhibiting with the iconic Pinacotheca gallery from 1985 to 1992, and garnering high profile support from The Age’s art critic Gary Catalano, his profile waned considerably during the 1990s. Walker became instead something of a painter’s painter, remaining intergenerationally connected to the art world through his former painting students from Western TAFE, such as Lane Cormick, Lisa Radford, Amanda Marburg, Blair Trethowan, and Colleen Ahern. More incognito than impresario, his preference was to sit at home in suburban Hampton and read books, listen to music and occasionally paint.

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