Deborah Walker has been a practising professional artist over many decades and has worked across a variety of disciplines, including painting printmaking, sculpture and drawing. Yet despite the diversity of expression her aesthetic focus and research concerns have remained constant. The content of her work continues to be with the ambiguity and enigma that is often present in the visual.
As the Australian poet Kevin Hart has said about her, "There is great silence in her work that is, at heart, an acceptance of things at the depth from which they come to us." (2008)
In Caroline Field's catalogue essay to Deborah Walker's survey exhibition at Stonnington Museum of Art she describes the work in terms of its enigmatic yet recognizable mystery. Spirituality is at the heart of Deborah Walker's enigmatically engaging and refined works. Drawing on the interpretive nature of a philosophical world view, Walker presents a figurative structure imbued with a calmness, stillness and sophistication. Elegantly presented characters are warmly depicted with a touch of heat and drama, their serene gaze gentle, sometimes melancholy and reflective.
Echoing the tradition found in medieval art, Walker not only wishes to portray the physical appearance of her subject, but to furnish that work with a soul of its own, creating an image that plays with the distinction between appearance and reality. While not overly romantic, there is an evocative dream-like quality to her representations of serenity, intimacy, dignity, and resolve. The figures depicted seem on a journey, their pilgrimage, and they themselves become icons or images of meditation and self-reflection. (2004)
Dr. Diane Conway talks about Walker's artworks in terms of their visual lineage, describing the links with a European heritage. The faces and stances of the figures in Deborah Walker's paintings refer more directly to Italian tradition than to current Australian painting, yet are readily comprehensible and indeed haunting from a contemporary Australian viewpoint. Sometimes Walker's figures seem frozen by inaction, stasis, caught in a melancholy and suspended time zone. The physical painting of symbols - the book, the hat, an animal - was seen in Byzantine art as a continual reiteration of another world of meaning, beyond paint on wood or canvas. The painting was not merely aesthetic, but represented clues to eternal verities, manifestation of an infinite spiritual realm. (2004)
About the 2012 Art Exhibition 'Face to Face' developed in response to an idea from Deborah Walker