Midlands Art Centre

Maxine Walker
Untitled

24 May - 30 Aug 2021

Free Entry
Curated by Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora

ADDRESS

ADDRESS

Midlands Art Centre
Cannon Hill Park
Birmingham B12 9QH, UK

TICKETS

opening times

Mon - Sun: 9am - 9pm

OPENING TIMES

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This exhibition is free and you don't need to book a ticket. Visit Midlands Art Centre's website to find out more.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

After debuting at Autograph in London, the first exhibition of Maxine Walker's work in more than 22 years is touring to Birmingham.

Untitled reintroduces a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career. Active between 1985 - 1997, Walker used photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being.

This exhibition is part of our ongoing commitment to curate and preserve the legacy of important practitioners such as Walker, and to ensure that her significant contribution to the cultural history of photography is recognised.

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. The sequence of ten portraits share 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.

Material from Autograph’s archive will be exhibited, including the original contact sheets from Walker’s photo booth styled self portraits (1995). In these colour works, Walker transforms herself into a myriad of characters. Vintage artist prints from Black Beauty (1991) and The Bride (1989) will be on display, alongside the magazines Walker co-founded, edited and wrote for. Ephemera from her exhibitions across the UK chart the extent of her prolific career.

Maxine Walker: Untitled is based on Autograph’s 1997 publication of Walker’s work commissioned and edited by Mark Sealy, part of our now-rare series of monographs dedicated to black photographic practice.

EXHIBITION PREVIEW

Exhibition at Midlands Art Centre

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Untitled, 1995

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From the series The Bride, 1989

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Untitled, 1997

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Untitled, 1997

Ephemera in the exhibition at Midlands Art Centre

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Untitled, 1995

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From the series The Bride, 1989

about the artist

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Maxine Walker (b. 1962)

was active within the photographic community between 1985 and 1997 and deeply invested in dialogues that advocated black art practices in Britain. A pioneering artist, she was instrumental in cofounding several creative platforms for black female photographers – such as Monocrone Women’s Photography Collective, Women + Photography and Polareyes – and participated on editorial boards, including at Autograph (then known as the Association of Black Photographers).

During this time, Walker regularly reviewed exhibitions and wrote features highlighting the work of her peers, such as Joy Gregory, Adrian Piper and Ingrid Pollard. Walker’s main themes, in her own words, ‘involve the black woman and the family worked in a “pot-pourri” of studio, portraiture and documentary.’ Her work has been exhibited across a diverse range of national institutions and galleries globally and is represented in private and public collections. She studied at West Surrey College of Art & Design (now University of Creative Arts). Walker resides in Handsworth, Birmingham.

discover more

How Maxine Walker Disrupted the Idea of an Approved Womanhood

Rianna Jade Parker reviews Walker's exhibition at Autograph for Freize

Read now

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.

The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can take the survey here. Thank you!

special thanks

Maxine Walker and Autograph would like to thank: Derek Bishton, Vanley Burke, Claudette Holmes, Joy Gregory, Denise Walker, and Ella Yvonne Delores Walker Cole.

supported by

Banner image: Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London.

Page images from top, left to right: 1) Exhibition at Midlands Art Centre 2) Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1995. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 3) Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 4) Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 5) Maxine Walker, from the series The Bride, 1989. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 6) Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 7) Maxine Walker, from the series The Bride, 1989. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker 8) Exhibition at Midlands Art Centre

Other images on page: 9) Maxine Walker at Autograph, London. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell. 10) Maxine Walker, Cleansing. From the series Black Beauty, 1991. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London © Maxine Walker