Free form: artist Caroline Walls on the female gaze
Stark, sensual and seductive: fall in love with the artistry of Caroline Walls
Melbourne-based artist Caroline Walls began drawing as a kid in New Zealand and fostered a love of the visual as a teenager and adult growing up in Australia. Like most creatives, she leaned towards a career that blended art and commerce, but recently found an outlet for self-expression through her drawing, painting, sculpture and print-making. Even though the mixed-medium artist works across a broad range of disciplines, she says her first love will always be sketching. Exhibiting solo at Melbourne's Modern Times in June this year, Yeong Sassall chats to Caroline about art, expression and the female body.
How long have you been doing art?
I have only began to take my art practise seriously within the last two years, before this I was working in art direction and design but would pick up a pencil every whenever I could.
Where did you study/train?
I studied Visual Communication straight out of high school which lead me into art direction but in 2014 I did a one year post-grad certificate at VCA, Melbourne in Visual Arts which has now lead me into practising art full time.
Which artists do you look up to?
So many! To name a few Marlene Dumas, Louise Bourgeois, Elizabeth Peyton and Australian artists Poly Borland, Brent Harris and David Noonan.
You work across so many mediums - do you have a favourite?
I like working with the different mediums for different reasons - this allows me to explore the same theme in many ways to produce new and unique responses. In saying that, I love the spontaneity of drawing with graphite or charcoal and I can do it anywhere, whereas my paintings on canvas are made up of highly considered compositions that take planning but I do love sitting with the work for hours and methodically apply layers and layers of paint - it's quite meditative.
You're exhibiting solo in Melbourne this year - what themes should we expect to see in your works?
The female form has always played an integral part in my artistic practice and these works are a continuation of this study. This new body of large-scale canvases look at the female silhouette - reducing the form to its most essential in order to heighten its expressive power. The show is called Another Thought and will be on show at Modern Times in Melbourne.
What inspires you as an artist?
Everyday human experiences, sensuality, movement, Modernist sculpture... I can find inspiration in most places if I look hard enough.
How does gender and the female body inform your work?
The lines, curves and shapes that make up the female form are a way for me to celebrate the notion of the female in today's cultural sphere. I am deeply curious about the way gender lines and sexuality plays into our understanding and approach to the world around us - I also love the idea of women representing womanliness, rather than looking at the nude through the male gaze.
Name 5 people dead or alive you'd invite to a dinner party.
Marlene Dumas, Patti Smith, Meryl Streep, Harvey Milk, Tracey Emin.
For more info on Caroline's work, head to carolinewalls.com
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