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signed, titled and dated 'RESORT Caroline Walker 2017' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
49 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. (125 x 100 cm.)
Painted in 2017.
ProjectB, Milan
Private collection, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Milan, ProjectB, Caroline Walker: Night Scenes, May-June 2017.

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Lot Essay

Painted in 2017, Caroline Walker’s Resort positions the viewer along a walkway in a luxury resort, catching a glimpse of the night shift for a group of female workers tending to the pool area. Like so many of Walker’s works, the present piece focuses on the relationship between women and their surroundings. The immediate foreground is illuminated by a light fixture shining onto a group of bushes acting as a barrier between the viewer and the three women tending to the resort’s nightly ritual. The scene represents a thought provoking juxtaposition of the luscious landscape and amenities alongside the less glamorous processes that go into making a “paradise”. In the morning, the guests of this resort will wake up to find the pool area waiting for them fully stocked with fluffy cushions, clean floors, and a drink just moment away as if just magically maintaining this air of perfection. However, the reality is, a lot of work goes into the dreamy ambiance experienced while on vacation that often goes unnoticed. Walker tackles that subject by bringing those silent, overlooked heroines to the forefront of the canvas, challenging the type of gaze we turn to our world and offering a fascinating take on the structure of our society.

Born and raised in Scotland, Walker attended Glasgow School of Art before completing her MA at the royal college of art, and her solo exhibitions spanning Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge and beyond have gained her critical acclaim over the past decade. Resort appears in the third solo show at Via Maroncelli in Milan entitled NIGHT SCENES. Of all the pieces in the series, the present work contains the most figures, each engaging with each other as they go about their routine. Typical of the artist’s style, this piece conveys the sense of a privileged vantage point, as if the viewer is witnessing a secret moment while the protagonists move through the dark. Resort captures the masterful use of light and elusive nature of NIGHT SCENES while utilizing the popular subject found in her Service series. The piece also showcases a great deal of natural space with the greenery and expansive presence of the ocean creating the perfect accumulation of the contemporary artist’s strengths.

By offering both an intimate vantage point and immersive insight, Caroline walker positions herself in the scope of art history that stretches from the Dutch Golden Age to the incidental realism of artists such as Edward Hopper who similarly worked to capture the tender moments in day to day life. Hoppers’ iconic Nighthawks speaks directly to the present piece with its use of nights backdrop to illuminate the clandestine moments caught in the dark. Both pieces offer a unique and calming vantage point as if shifted into a new reality where the viewer is left transfixed, witnessing pure moments in life’s ever moving cycle. Walker’s unique and impactful paintings reveal the diverse social, cultural and economic experiences of women living in a contemporary society. The relatability and raw honesty her pieces portray will one day be seen as moments frozen in time, teaching the next generation of women the beauty in what they did and how they continue forward.

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