Reintroducing a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, Maxine Walker: Untitled at Autograph gallery in London is a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career – using photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being.
Active between 1985 and 1997, this is her first solo exhibition in more than twenty-two years. “In her seminal series of self-portraits Untitled (1997), Walker draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs,” states the gallery.
“The sequence of 10 portraits shares a charged visual journey as she seemingly peels away layers of her surface skin, conjuring a narrative that is more sinister than playful, intimating that her blackness cannot – and must not – be stripped away. Magnifying the delicacy of her skin, we are invited to consider complex notions of beauty, masquerade, and vulnerability.”
Maxine Walker: Untitled is currently on show at Autograph at Rivington Place in London and will run until 17 August 2019. On 11 June, it will host a talk – Shining Lights: Black Women in Photography in the 1980s and ’90s – where artist Joy Gregory will reflect on the cultural landscape of the time and the publications, organisations, exhibitions, events and other work produced. To book tickets, visit autograph.org.uk.
Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker
Maxine Walker, from the series The Bride, 1989. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker
Maxine Walker, Her. From the series Black Beauty, 1991. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker
Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1995. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker
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