About the tapestries:
The imagery for the tapestries in the coming show is originally inspired by driving through Ireland during the winter of my mother’s death looking at trees so poignant like line drawings on the dusk sky.
I had always in mind to try the medium of tapestry, very much inspired by the works of my mother’s best friend, the artist Patrick Scott.
In a sense focusing on the poignancy of the trees was a way to describe the continuing pull and ebb of family life – leaving children to drive to a sick parent and necessarily been drawn back and forth between the parent and the young family, a universal experience.
The sense of that time stayed with me through the boxing years of elation and disappointment on the road again to championships all around the country.
I was working on the trees when I started the boxing paintings but then the boxing work took over as a complete series, which I showed with Oliver Sears in early 2015, The Boxing Diaries.
The trees remained with me, I continued painting them not only as the winter line drawings on the sky but also in their various colourful dresses throughout the year.
The more I looked at the tree paintings I saw them as potentially translating very well into tapestry. I also saw it as a way of bringing together into one collection of work the sense of that time on the road driving back and forth to my mother and the time spent driving my sons to boxing.
I'm using a comparable technique in the tapestry making as I use in painting to contrast background and foreground with shapes in relief. In painting, I use very thick oil paint to form moving figures and in the tapestries, the cut wool stands clear of the loop background to give a third dimension.
In 2016 the first piece was made in Oughterard, Co Galway for Residence II, an exhibition in London with Oliver Sears Gallery. It was based on an image of my son on Ballybunion Strand warming up for a Munster Final, Emmet on the Strand.
The tapestries for the upcoming exhibition are being made in Dixons (previously V’Soske Joyce) in Oughterard, Co Galway, by the same craftsman who started making Patrick Scott’s designs in the 1960s.
Sarah Walker January 16th 2018