Interview With Caroline Walls

We caught up with Caroline Walls to find out more about her and her inspiration...

You create extremely beautiful representations of the female form. Do you see evocations of the human form in everything? Or is it more accurate to say you’re attracted to the body's aesthetic?
I think its really a mixture of things that draw me in to representing and interpreting the body in my art practise. I really do love the aesthetics of a body, it's curves, solidness, its sensuality, particularly the female form. But I'm also interested in what lies beneath the surface, I guess the unseen aspect of a person thats so easy to overlook. There was never really a conscious moment that I thought to myself 'the body - thats my subject matter' - it was just an organic thing, if you look through old sketchbooks from when I was in high school you'll see I haven't moved past it from 14 or 15 years of age.

What role would you say colour (or lack thereof) plays in the meaning of your works?
My use of subtle, fleshy tones began when I was looking at ways to really produce a feeling of intimacy and sensuality into my works. I also feel like these tones have a timelessness to them - and I am keen to encourage a sense of narrative/storytelling in my pieces, like the beauty and intrigue of an old photograph.

How did you discover that folds of cloth could be used so well to evoke human flesh?
To be honest I was in one of those daggy bargain bin fabric shops and I spotted the perfect flesh-toned fabric! At that stage I didn't know what I was going to do with it but I thought the colour was perfect so I had them cut me a couple of metres and I set about playing with it in my studio. I realised very quickly that the fabrication and drape of the material was crucial in achieving the softness of bodily forms so I went on a hunt around Melbourne for various fabrics in tones of pink and nude that had the right texture and drape that would allow me to achieve the vulva-like forms of my soft sculptures.

What kind of experience is it to try and deconstruct female sexuality, in exhibitions such as 'The Women'?
Looking back on the process and works for that show I feel like it was less of an attempt to deconstruct female sexuality as a whole, and more of a process of deconstructing my relationship with my own sexuality, body and womanliness. So in that sense it was really quite a personal and interesting journey. Many of the works, particularly my graphite drawings were quite overtly sexual in nature which was quite confronting for many people so it was really quite wild to watch the different responses my work had - some saw it as a celebration of sex and the female, others felt like the work was really shocking - too sexual.

Are you experimenting with any new materials?
Having always used oil paints I've been enjoying playing with oil sticks as a drawing tool directly onto canvas. I've discovered a couple of colours that sit perfectly in my fleshy-nude world! I love to draw but had only ever created drawings that were quite small and intimate on paper so its been interesting to see how my drawings feel enlarged on canvas and how that changes the mood of the works.

Do you have any exhibitions/projects coming up?
It's still under wraps but I'm working on a solo exhibition that's happening in the first half of 2017 - a series of large scale paintings and drawings.

I've also done a collaboration with a dear friend of mine who began her luxury sleepwear label, Masini & Chern a few years ago. We worked on print designs that feature my drawings of sleeping women - it's been a fun process to be a part of seeing my drawings in a textile context.

You can see all of Caroline's works available here.