Opus Art, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Untitled 48 by Ben Walker

Ben Walker Biography

The central themes that inform Ben Walker’s paintings are historical atrocities, specifically the Holocaust and Nazism. Imagery from the Holocaust and military youth movements are deployed as signifiers of evil, dread, no future, to display the emptiness of the subject.

Ben Walker doesn’t make literal, descriptive paintings, but instead uses figurative elements and subdued tonal ranges to depict people who were viewed as anonymous or as objects, and to reflect a sense of vulnerability and create an impression of remoteness. The figures in the compositions are often vague or simplified, reduced to silhouettes, with unnecessary detail eliminated. The backgrounds of the paintings contain enough information to indicate some kind of space or setting.

The artist works on coarse grained linen which is sized rather than primed, and uses a narrow range of colours - mainly browns, greys and greens. There is an emphasis on the actual process and evolution of making the work. Value is placed on the application of paint, the variation of the brush marks, and the surface.

Ben Walker graduated in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Sheffield Hallam University, and went on to complete a MA in Fine Art (Drawing) in 2001 at Wimbledon College of Art. Walker has exhibited in London and New York, including exhibitions curated by Mark Wallinger and Franko B. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the National Art Competition at Saatchi Gallery, and the same year was an exhibiting artist in the 2010 Marmite Prize for Painting.

Ben Walker lives and works in London.

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