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Exploring the darker side of war and personal tragedy, this painters’ painter layered images by over-printing to achieve lush images of haunting contemplation.
John Walker is a British-born artist whose painterly abstractions insinuate dimensional spaces and objects. Incorporating flat collaged spaces and pictograph-like symbols, his dynamic compositions cite multiple source materials. Drawing inspiration from English poetry, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, and the Aboriginal art of Polynesia and Australia. “If you accept that paint is colored mud, and you put it on a canvas, you realize it is only a genius, like Turner or Rembrandt, who can turn it into air,” he mused. “It is the height of ambition, it seems to me, to be a painter. How do you do this: turn it into air, or a piece of silk, or a piece of flesh?” Born on November 23, 1939 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, he studied at the Moseley School of Art in Birmingham and later at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. Walker is a Professor Emeritus of Art and the former head of the graduate program in painting at Boston University School of Visual Arts. His works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art among others. Walker lives and works in Boston, MA.
John Walker (born 1939, Birmingham, England). He studied at Birmingham College of Art (1956-1960), and continued his studies at The British School in Rome (1960-1961), and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris (1961-1963)
John Walker was a Gregory Fellow at Leeds University (1967-1969). He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to the United States (1969–70) and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981. He has been artist-in-residence at Oxford University (1977–78), and at Monash University, Melbourne (1980)
He represented England at the 1972 Venice Biennale.
He has taught at the Royal College in London and at Yale University. In the 1980’s he was Dean of Victoria College of Art in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2015, he taught at Boston University and is currently Professor Emeritus of Art and former head of the graduate program in Painting and Sculpture at Boston University School of Visual Arts.
He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in NY; The Phillips Collection in DC; The Tate Gallery, London; The Hayward Gallery in London; The Kunstverein, Hamburg; The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; and others.
His work can be found in museum collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Gallery, Edinburgh; Tate Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut.
John Walker resides and works in Boston, Massachusetts and in South Bristol, Maine.