Richard Walker is a respected Glasgow-based artist who took a different route to the bombast of Scottish figuration during the 1980s, when the likes of Peter Howson were painting heroic dockers and shipbuilders, all gleaming sweat-soaked muscles, muck and idealised brawn. Walker's paintings are modest in scale but not in their ambition. All are painted in oil on board and none measures more than 40.5cm x 52cm. He knows his art history and it's easy to tick off his influences from Vermeer to Corot, from Vuillard's emotionally constrained domestic interiors to Sickert's brooding palette. Walker also has a close affinity with the American figurative painter Fairfield Porter.
For this exhibition he has executed an intense series of carefully observed small paintings based on the inside of his studio. What he paints is a stage set for creative activity where each object reverberates with a unique sense of itself, whether it is a table, a pile of paint rags or a chair. This is something, along with a meditative stillness, that he shares with that other great painter of intimate studio works, Morandi, whose intense still lives of bottles and jars took on anthropomorphic qualities. Walker's palette is subdued. He favours duns and fawns, browns and creams, olives and greys, relieved by an occasional touch of red or blue on which the whole painting might depend.
His concern seems to be, above all, how the stuff of paint, can, with the minimum intervention, still signify a real object such as a box or shelf or the plane of a wall. …