Searching Lines

29th May 2024

Searching Lines Exhibition By Jane Walker

This is an exhibition of new paintings.
All of these paintings are painted over old paintings, re-cycled. They consist of political
slogans covered with pink paint. I was using white before but it was too serious, pink works
better. I found it really empowering to start the day painting protest slogans, angry things
such as ‘Stop Privatisation of the NHS’, Ceasefire, roughly daubing the words onto a
canvas over rough layers of old paintings. It suits me to cover the words over. I tend to
hide. The Arts Council has recently stated that artists who show solidarity with Palestine
are being blacklisted, I doubt if they would bother with anyone as insignificant as me.
Even though they are covered over the words are still there. They are under the top layer
of pink paint. I used lighter pinks to block light toned slogans and deeper pinks to allow
more difficult to read slogans to just have a presence. I find myself deliberately trying to
blur some words because the finished painting is different to what is underneath, it has a
different intention. The layer of pink paint looks like a clean slate to start with. Into the pink
I scratch lines that come from my drawings of cities, usually taken from above or a high
viewpoint. At this point of the process the painting is about the lines, I re-do them over and
over again to get them to feel right, I don’t want them to be descriptive.
Hiding the once empowering slogans is an odd activity. It shows my own uncertainty, but
my work is never really about myself. It is about the outside world and things in it. Having
been abandoned and battered as a child I am frightened of people. I keep a distance,
people misread me. My view is distant, I am interested in the planet, and the lack of justice
between different groups of people.
My work is coming from landscape painting, but I extend the distance, I think for this
reason, I need a distant view.

Jane Walker moved around a lot as a child. She is based in Sheffield. She studied Painting
at Sheffield City Polytechnic (1983-87), and the Royal Academy Schools (1987-90). Her
inspiration is landscape, both rural and urban. She works with oil paint in her studio, and
has a separate watercolour practice outside. In oil painting her cartoon style lines play with
city patterns exploring structures and the partitions of space. She alters the tension and
energy in her lines creating rhythms. The lines on the 2-D surface are almost like a strung
musical instrument, sensitive to change in the atmosphere. Her work is in the permanent
collection of the Cooper Gallery Barnsley, and in the University of Uxbridge collection. She
exhibits regularly with the Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield and the Open Gallery, Halifax.