Artist Bio: Graham (Max) Walker

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Artist Bio - Graham (Max) Walker

I have been painting in oils and pastels for about twenty-five years in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Landscapes and streetscapes tend to be my principal subject matter, although more recently I have explored figure work as well.  My way of working is as a tonalist and colourist - I do believe that tone is the central building block to building a meaningful work, and then colour can be used to give a painting excitement and vitality. However, as Marcel Proust stated: " for the writer, no less than colour for the painter, is a question not of technique but of vision". 

Thus my approach strives to combine tonal accuracy and colour vibrancy in pursuit of a vision: to interpret distinctive, memorable moments in the landscape and urban surrounds which excite emotions and stimulate memories in the viewer - forming a responsive connection.

More specifically, I really enjoy portraying those special moments that seize our attention and stimulate the senses, yet experiences that can be fleeting such as an evocative street scene, a grouping of people in an interesting urban environment, or a striking combination of shapes and colours in a city view. To this end, quite a few of my paintings are narrative in nature, suggesting what could happen in a situation or scene. The words of John Berger resonnate with me: "Art is an oganised response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally". The point is to execute the organised response using emotions and sensations as much as intellect.

I have been influenced to varying degrees by the Australian tonalists (such as Meldrum), the Scottish colourists and the Barbizon school. The works of Rupert Bunny and Charles Conder have great appeal for me. In terms of workshops and advice, I have received guidance from a number of tutors such as Peter Smales, Ross Patterson, Yvonne Audette; John Wilson (Sydney); Joseph Attard; and Regina Hona. However, my painting style, my artistic "signature", and what I want to express to the viewer, are entirely my own and I am pleased to say that I am still on that exciting journey of challenge and discovery.

I sign my pictures as Max Walker, using the long-standing nick name of Max. Sobriquets are endearing as they form a special link between the person and the group of contacts or friends who use them.

My Influences

In My Bio, I have provided a summary of the art theories, artists and teachers who have influenced me over the years, while I have been experimenting and developing my own signature style. Essentially, the most central influence and driver of my work has been my own internal desire to capture, through sensory evaluation and contemplation of beauty, the most interesting and absorbing presentation of nature, man-made objects and urban surrounds. I have a keen interest in aesthetics and how we can think about beauty and the memories of beautful objects and situations in our lives. For this, writers such as Marcel Proust, Vincent van Gogh (via his letters - I have read them all), Siri Hustvedt, Michel Foucault, John Berger, Martin Gayford and Betty Churcher have provided valuable thoughts and insights about the practice and objectives of art. Long may we aspire to take our efforts to ever higher planes in our quest to preserve inspirational scenes in a lasting form.

My Artshow Awards

Artshow: Kilmore Art Expo
Title: Early Morning, Small Town
Award: Highly Commended
Artshow: U3A Knox Art Show
Title: Big Southern Sky
Award: Second Prize, Oil Painting Category
Sponsor: U3A
Prize: $100