John McDonald Catalogue note 2009



With these new paintings and works on paper, Emma Walker has said goodbye to the “emerging” label that some artists seem to carry for their entire lives. This does not mean she has ceased experimenting and searching, but there is sense of maturity - a centredness - in this work that reveals a confident creative personality.
The catalyst for these paintings, which are basically landscapes with a strong abstract component, was a journey to Central Australia. In responding to that arid, primeval environment, Walker follows in the footsteps of artists such as Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and John Olsen, who did some of their most original work under its influence. There the resemblance ends, because Walker’s pictures are characterized by nuances and fine details, not grand, sweeping statements. Some would call this a feminine approach, but I think it is more a matter of temperament than gender.
The variety of colour and texture in these pictures is seductive, but there is an underlying concern for structure that means they never subside into simple decoration. Although landscape elements are dominant there are allusions to many different schools of modern abstract painting. It is the mark of a mature artist that Walker is clearly in control of these influences, taking only what is necessary to forge a distinctive visual language of her own.

John McDonald



Art critic, The Sydney Morning Herald

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