The exhibition consisted of a series of paintings made in 2007-8 called Lady Watercolourist At Home, as well as a wall painting made in and for the space.
The paintings are made in watercolour on paper, small-scale, brightly coloured and full of pattern and incident that can be funny, sad, baffling and tender. The images flit seamlessly between abstraction and cartooning, the round eyes of the assorted characters look out from the paintings, a red tongue licks a brilliant yellow sky and a green owl with round black suns for eyes clings to the end of a branch.
These works posit painting as an arena where different registers of expression can coexist and proliferate, from the expletive to the absorbing, from the figurative to the formal and diagrammatic.
The paintings come into being through making rather than planning, and the materiality of paint is central to the images. Almost all of Walsh’s work for the last ten years has been in watercolour, usually on an intimate scale, but at times reaching up to 40’ long.
Watercolour is the simplest of paints: there is very little between the pigment and the paint, so colours have naturally different consistencies, transparencies, viscosities, opacities. So, as a poet uses words for their meanings and their sounds and sibilance, so painters slide and elide marks, descriptions, colours, surfaces.
As Leonora Carrington wrote in The Hearing Trumpet: "I had often thought of writing poetry myself but getting words to rhyme with each other is difficult, like trying to drive a herd of turkeys and kangaroos down a crowded thoroughfare and keeping them all neatly together without looking in the shop windows. There are so many words, and they all mean something."