A Woman Sewing: Caroline Walker @ Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam
GRIMM Gallery inaugurated the season at their Keizersgracht space in central Amsterdam on August 30, 2019, with a new solo show by Caroline Walker. Marking a third solo presentation with the gallery, A Woman Sewing weaves a complex series that portrays quiet, penetrating vignettes about her favorite subjects.
Through large-scale paintings and intimate drawings, Walker almost exclusively explores women navigating life in an image drive, modern world. Taking her own reference photos while strolling the streets, she captures her subjects in a journalistic gaze, observing their daily routines in an office, hotel, beauty parlor or tailor shop, with the last locale especially piquing her curiosity. What do these spaces demonstrate about traditionally male positions now open to women? This body of work was created from her visits to two different workshops in London.
Unlike the previous series which depicts subjects within public, commercial areas glimpsed from the outside, the new works take a more profound look inside these private workshops. Intrigued by the colors and patterns of the fabrics, as well as the myriad of tools particular to the trade, Walker illustrates women routinely maneuvering these spaces, fully absorbed in their work. Impeccably capturing the particular light and atmosphere she compares to a neon-lit women sewing and a man tailoring in front of large sun-lit windows. The methodology within the scene juxtaposes a likely noisy environment that creates a tension, adding a quiet drone to the everyday. Revisiting the traditional way of showing these women sewing at home, in gardens, or other places within the domestic realm, Walker elevates them in a professional space, poetically suggesting much larger social, economic and political themes. –Sasha Bogojev