Brancaster Chronicle No. 75: Steven Walker Paintings
21st July 2019, near Bath.
Taking part: Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, Sarah Greenwood, Robin Greenwood, Charley Greenwood, Shelley Latham, Noela James, Steven Walker, John Pollard, Richard Ward.
Really like the look of some of this work.The strong tonal qualities seem to really suit it ,as do the slightly larger areas .So sorry to have missed this meeting .Looking forward to Alan Gouk in Hampstead on Tuesday and my own show at the Chelsea Arts club on June 4th 2020.Theres a great deal of terrific work out there, that could be called British Abstract Painting.It is extraordinary that we are marginalised economically into the enthusiasts ,train spotting category ,whereas the galleries are frozen by their rents into showing whatever is safe ,already collected and well known.The beauty of this work is its iffy quality of struggle and surprise.Cant wait to see a big show of this work .Congratulations Steven.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Numbers one and three are the ones I like best of these. They both have a kind of “wholeness”, consisting in spatial coherence and a resolved surface pattern that doesn’t send the eye off looking for something more, or guiltily avoiding and skimming over certain parts.
They both have a recessive “border” on some of the edges, especially at the top.
On the whole I think this is positive. In no.3 it helps push out the upper forms and stop them receding. The resulting spatiality is that of a complex screen loosely slotted together in front of the wide landscape hinted at in the upper left hand corner.
In no.1 the “border” is more widely present and becomes a kind of background with the larger forms floating at various depths in the space it creates before it.
I suspect it is these background / foreground effects that help to prise the larger forms apart (putting “air” between them like in Noela’s no.3),
and emphasize their powerful individual shapes, which seem to me to be a strongpoint in Steven’s painting.
It becomes a problem on the upper left hand corner of no.4 where, cut off by the strong yellow curve, it loses any kind of integration with the rest of the painting, without being small enough not to matter.
5 and 6 are intense, subterranean and airless in comparison to the others. No.2 seemed to me spatially and chromatically chaotic.
I agree with Richard and think that 1 and 3 are the most successful paintings. 2 looks better in reproduction in a way as it flattens the white and makes it less of a problem than it was on the day. 4 relies on a simple 4 by 4 square-like shapes that seem to sit on a back ground. I’m troubled by the two yellow lines in 5 that float somewhat disconnected and unrelated to their surroundings. 6 I’m not sure about. On the day the strong red/orange/green area structure looked too obvious, premeditated and unrelated to the rest but I do like a lot of this painting.
I naturally personally warm to Steven’s gestural energetic painting ‘style’, although I also like calmer (but still complex) work. Both 1 and 3 are chaos made meaningful and valuable. I can see them as clever abstract worlds where distinct and interesting areas work in stimulating relationships with each other; where each area is multiplicious and pinning it down can’t be done for too long because of its complexity. Paintings 1 and 3 are much better in the flesh; the lighting on these photos underplay the contrast in the work.
I too enjoy the look of Steven’s paintings, however I feel Untitled 2 is different from the rest and does to my mind seem more characteristic of Steven’s style. Some of the other paintings tend to remind me of other works but there is a strong individuality in Untitled 2 which feels more personal to Steven.