Details
CAROLINE WALKER (B. 1982)
Clearing
signed, titled and dated ''CLEARING' CAROLINE WALKER 2014 Caroline Walker' (on the reverse)
oil on linen
5414 x 7478in. (145.3 x 190.2cm.)
Painted in 2014
Provenance
Project B Gallery, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Exhibited
Milan, Project B Gallery, Set Piece, 2014.
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Rendered on a monumental scale, Clearing is a vivid example of Caroline Walker’s early practice. From myriad shades of green, illuminated by soft dappled sunlight, the artist conjures a spellbound glade, presided over by a half-concealed statue. Paint drips down the length of the canvas in watery rivulets and accumulates in luminous, holographic layers. Foreground and background shift in and out of focus across Walker’s mesmerising chromatic planes: as we peer further into the canvas, we begin to lose our bearings. Though no figures are present, the composition nonetheless captures the sense of voyeuristic tension that would come to define the artist’s practice. From within the depths of the composition, we sense we are being watched.

Painted in 2014, the work dates from the early years of Walker’s rise to acclaim, forming part of her Set Piece series shown in Milan that year. Born and raised in Scotland, the artist attended Glasgow School of Art before completing her MA at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2009. She has received widespread critical recognition over the past decade, with solo exhibitions at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2018; the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham and KM21, The Hague, 2021; as well as the Fitzrovia Chapel, London, earlier this year, and at Nottingham Castle opposite Laura Knight this spring. Part of a generation that has revived painting for the twenty-first century, her practice focuses on the relationship between figures—typically women—and their surroundings. The present work, a rare example of a landscape in her oeuvre, is notable for its absence of discernible human life: laced with cinematic suspense, it conjures art historical references ranging from Edward to Hopper to Peter Doig, as well as demonstrating Walker’s admiration for the films of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. It is a thrilling atmospheric mise-en-scène that sets the stage for the subsequent evolution of her practice.

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