Ben Walker: ‘Solitudes and Seasons’

Coffeeismycupoftea Space
103b Dalston Lane
London E8 1NH

Private View: Friday 17th August 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Exhibition runs: 18 August – 16 September
Opening times: daily 8am – 5pm (weekends 10am – 5pm)

The paintings in ‘Solitudes and Seasons’ refer to a distinct era of British culture of TV programmes and films: 1970s and 1980s educational programmes for schools,
children’s films, and public information films.  Looking back now these television broadcasts and films seemed imbued with a strange otherness, such as ‘Children of
the Stones’, an HTV production from 1977, which was concerned with subject matter and an atmosphere, that seemed odd or even unsettling for a broadcast aimed at
children, of eerily presented supernatural forces and the breakdown of normal society.

It is the setting of these films or images that is especially important to me, which draw heavily on relationships to the rural landscape, and present that landscape as a
place that ‘’seems to offer security and yet it is somehow the location of menaces far more profound than those found in the city.’’ 1 This is central to defining the overall
mood of the paintings.  Much of the source imagery seems familiar, comforting, and yet it is also unsettling or eerie. It is these qualities in the paintings, which are
impressions of half remembered, misremembered or an imagined past, that exists on the edges of memory and nostalgia where ideas of folklore, the unknown, the
weird, science fiction and the supernatural are meshed together. Embedded in these paintings is the loss of childhood innocence and with it, the death of a bygone
utopia.

The paintings are on coarse textured linen.  The oil paint, thinned with turps, is scrubbed into the weave of the linen, and then may be removed and repainted over and
over.   Consequently, traces of earlier incarnations often remain visible in the finished picture, articulating the hauntological theme of the past repeating into the present.

1. Joe Kennedy, 2013.

Ben Walker was born in Cheshire and lives and works in Kent.  He studied at Sheffield Hallam University and Wimbledon School of Art. He has exhibited widely,
including at Transition Gallery and Charlie Smith London, and in the Marmite Prize, and in 2012 won the Jack Goldsmith Painting Prize.  ‘Solitudes and seasons’ will be
shown as a group exhibition at the Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge, in January 2019.
With thanks to Richard Ducker.