Government Art Collection acquires 'Shaping', 2019 by Caroline Walker
Government Art Collection acquires 'Shaping', 2019 by Caroline Walker. Unlike other scenes in which the artist has depicted women at work within public, commercialised spaces, ‘Shaping’ belongs to a series of works that show the focused craft of bespoke tailoring within the private confines of subterranean workshops and the cutting room above. The women depicted are seen entirely absorbed in their work and separate from the public life of the city.
The visual language of the workshop forms an abstract painterly language that makes reference to the atmosphere of these cluttered interiors. In this series Walker explores a recurring subject in genre painting throughout the history of western art, that of a woman sewing. Examples are found in Dutch Golden Age painting by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Caspar Netscher, Nicolaes Maes and in the 19th-century Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot or Vilhelm Hammershoi. All of these genre paintings depict women sewing in homes or gardens, an activity associated with the domestic realm of women, not of professional space.