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Ben Walker:Goodbye goodbye it won’t be long till we meet again (1.50)

Ben Walker:Goodbye goodbye it won’t be long till we meet again (1.50)

2020

Signed on reverse

Oil on linen

14 x 18 inches

Ben Walker 'Goodbye goodbye it won't be long till we meet again 1.50

Ben Walker’s recent work refers to and reinterprets a distinct era of 1970s and 80s British educational programmes, children’s films and public information videos. As remembered by Walker, these programmes were often imbued with an eerie disquietude, balanced by a warm and comfortable sense of nostalgia. At once otherly yet familiar, Walker’s reimaginings of this specific niche of British culture impress upon us a misremembered or imagined past.

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Detail from ‘Goodbye goodbye it won’t be long till we meet again (1.50)’, 2020. Ben Walker

Following a similar format, these TV programmes and films tend to blend in upon themselves, deceiving us into thinking we have seen them before long ago. By reaching into and exploring the loss of childhood innocence, Walker touches upon the edges of memory itself, enmeshing the unknown with fiction and the supernatural.

Painted on coarse textured linen, Goodbye goodbye it won’t be long till we meet again depicts a luminous sun cloaked between rolling hills and a smattering of trees. Walker explains that his forms have become ‘more and more simplified…almost childlike, and colour has gained greater significance’. Indeed, this painting focuses its attention on blending teal, emerald, and azure blues against subdued oranges and yellows, glowing like embers. Once thinned with turps, Walker scrubs oil paint into the weave of the linen, before removing and painting over the same spot repeatedly. As such, traces of earlier figurations remain hauntingly present in the background of the composition, delicately referencing the past repeating into the present.

The subject matter within Goodbye goodbye it won’t be long till we meet again is ambiguous, depicting either a dawn-filled sunrise or misty evening sunset. Within this uncertainty, Walker reinforces the theme of inscrutable familiarity. The painting contains the entire cycle of the day within its composition and materiality, presenting, in Walker’s own words, ‘the death of a bygone utopia’.

Studio

Ben Walker

B. United Kingdom1974

B. United Kingdom1974

Biography

Ben Walker was born in Cheshire in 1974. He studied Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, graduating in 1997. He received an MA Fine Art (Drawing) from Wimbledon School of Art in 2001, going on to undertake the Turps Correspondence Course 2018-19.

Walker looks to the English landscape as inspiration, combining it with an interest in British culture and kitsch, particularly film and TV from the 1970s and 80s. Walker draws on educational programming, children’s TV and public information films to produce works replete with nostalgia.

He has exhibited widely, including in the Marmite Prize, and has curated group shows in London and Cambridge. In 2012 he won the Jack Goldsmith Painting Prize. and had work selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019. He has work in private collections in the UK, including in the Soho House collection, and in the US, Canada, Ireland, Europe, India and Japan. He lives and works in Kent.

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