Online Collections at UoB - Objects
Go to the Advanced Search
<< Viewing Record 1054 of 1195 >>
View : Light Box | List View | Image List | Detailed
 


ID number:  BIRRC-A0884a-o
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Walker, John (b. 1939)
Title / Object name:  The Blue Cloud
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1996
Materials:  Oil on canvas, mural
Measurements:  240 cm x 400 cm
BIRRC-A0884.jpg

John Walker (b. 1939, Birmingham) : The Blue Cloud
Oil on canvas, 1996.

The richly allusive imagery in John Walkers mural, with its landscape, figurative and literary reference, explores the cyclic nature of life and death, of meeting and parting. Walker's diverse sources inlude English poetry, the painting of Goya, the landscape of Vermont and Australian aboriginal culture.

The painted texts are passages from the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Lord Byron, both speaking eloquently of departure and loss. Such moving farewells are balanced by the repeated symbol of rebirth, the speckled eucalyptus seed, whose form is also that of the clay vessel which, in aboriginal culture, holds the departed soul.

Walter has reflected on the relationship between paint and clay:

'Painting begins with the recognition of paint as inert mud. You take this mud, you change it, you give it light and air, form and expression. This fundamental challenge, to literally scoop it up and put it there, on the canvas, to transform it. Paint, this stuff from the earth is mud before anything else, and we ask it to transcend itself, to become intangible, we ask it to embody feeling, and form, and beauty.'

A further symbol in The Blue Cloud is the waterfall, and the inverted U-shape that refers to the form of a mudslide in Vermont. Water and earth make mud; mud is the clay from which primative vessels are both made and painted; thus, the allusions in this mural may to a limited degree be teased out. It remains, however, paint, where language is visual, and never fully explicable in words.

John Walker, whose paintings and prints are represented in public collections throughout the world, has close associations with the University of Birmingham. His parents met here during the First World War when his father was recovering from wounds, and as a boy Walker was a regular visitor to the Barber Institute. The University gave him an Honorary DLitt in 1994.

The Blue Cloud was commissioned from the artist by the University, and painted in the Faculty of Arts in the summer of 1996. It has been funded by University of Birmingham, the Faculty of Arts, The John Feeney Charitable Trust and private donations.

RCC.A0884

16 Related Media Items

BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A0884a(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884b(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884c(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884d(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884e(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A0884F(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884g(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884h(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884i(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884j(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A0884K(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884l(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884m(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884n(1).jpg
BIRRC-A0884.jpg
BIRRC-A00884o(1).jpg
<< Viewing Record 1054 of 1195 >>