The Walker Family:
Portraiture & Place
‘Perspectives (novel)’ references the historical context and the current environment of the Walker portraits. It is a study of the complex role of identity, wealth, and philanthropy in societal and environmental change. In the Walker paintings, the family are portrayed in 2D in oils with the aesthetics and cultural values of the Victorian era. The 21st century image of self is increasingly defined by virtual technology and biotech as genetic testing for genealogy and healthcare create new perceptions and histories for individuals and communities. To reflect this changing landscape the experimental sculptures of this artwork can spiral and take different forms. The materials used are off-cut papers, fabrics, book cloth and linen thread from the artist’s studio. They reference textile manufacturing in the industrial history of Bury and the importance of sustainable development. Each piece is bound using sewing and bookbinding techniques to highlight the books in the Walker sister's portrait and the role of education in social identity and economics. The contents and the installation of the artwork are a collaboration with the curator. Contained in a number of the pieces are illustrations and text sourced by the artist. These consider the broader impact of the industrial and technological revolutions of the 19th century and the present day. Some of the works remain blank, depicting the omissions in our historical and contemporary narratives. Forming the majority of the content are extracts of the curator’s research into the portraitist Louis Pierre Spindler, the Walker Family, and their community.
These delicate artworks sprawl out dynamically across the case allowing us to pick out personal archives and faded photographs. We piece these parts together to create narratives just as the research in this project has uncovered hidden memories and stories. The shapes and forms connect us to our world today giving us a chance to reflect upon the understanding of our own identity and place within our society.