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John Walker artist books

The Library has recently acquired two unique artists’ books by the significant NSW landscape painter John Walker. Entitled Corrigans Bay Began, The Crolls House, Myal Lakes, September 2002, and A book of trees at Bombay on the Shoalhaven, Tallaganda [2003], these books are presented in concertina format, allowing the panorama and scenes within to be viewed both as stretching vistas and individual vignettes.

Walker’s artwork is widely represented in major galleries and collections throughout Australia, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia, and he is a multiple Archibald Prize finalist.

 Corrigans Bay Began, The Crolls House, Myal Lakes, September 2002 (a section of which is displayed above) is an attractive documentation of Walker’s painting of the Australian Landscape, documenting a journey through the Myall Lakes. Walker documents the locale through gouache sketches, and provides specific geographic co-ordinates, thus presenting a vivid contemporary depiction of the landscape at a designated time and place. Walker indicates landmarks, tree-growth, and forest colourings as identifiable markers in the landscape.

A book of trees at Bombay on the Shoalhaven, Tallaganda [2003] represents another of Walker’s chief sensitivities as an artist: Australian flora, particularly the trees of New South Wales. This artist book is again place-specific: Bombay on the Shoalhaven and Tallaganda, a NSW national park. Species listed on the opening page include the snowgum and the ironbark. Walker’s sketches, though not photo-realistic, are recognisable through details of tone, colour, and texture, essentially providing a snapshot of species in the region.

These items are outstanding examples of contemporary artistic representations of NSW landscapes and flora, enhancing the Library’s rich collection of artist books.

Alexander Sussman

Coordinator, Collection Development & Acquisitions