Artist Bio: Graham (Max) Walker

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Artist Bio - Graham (Max) Walker

I have been painting in oils and pastels for about thirty years, based in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Of recent times, after visits to France, the streets, buildings and people of France have provided inspiring material for me, but I find beauty and interest in many other places. In particular, I have found wonderful subjects in South Australia, country Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Landscapes and streetscapes tend to be my principal subject matter.  My way of working is as a tonalist and colourist - I believe that fidelity of the tonal relationships is the central building block to establishing 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 faithfulness 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 perceptual and sensory in nature. The words of John Berger resonnate with me: "Art is an organised 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, to capture the exciting glimpse.

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. I also admire painters who just did their own thing, without reference to dogma - Maurice Utrillo comes to mind. For sheer flair and execution, I find Joaquin Sorolla's work amazing. In terms of workshops and advice, I have received guidance from tutors such as Peter Smales, Ross Patterson, Yvonne Audette; John Wilson (Sydney); 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 movements, artists and teachers who have influenced me over the years, while I have been experimenting and developing my own signature style. Importantly, 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 beautiful objects and situations in our lives. For this, writers and artists such as Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Vincent van Gogh (through his letters), Robert Henri, Siri Hustvedt, Michel Foucault, John Berger, Martin Gayford, Richard Brettell 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
Artshow: Resident Lendlease Art Trail Competition
Title: The Bright Side - We’ll Always Have Paris
Award: Judges Choice Award
Sponsor: Lendlease

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