John Walker (British, b. 1939) is an English painter and printmaker. Walker studied in Birmingham. His early works were inspired by Post-Abstraction and Abstract Expressionism. He uses three-dimensional shapes and flat elements to create images with acrylic paint.
Walker created a series of large blackboard pieces using chalk and dry pigment in the 1970s. The two series, Blackboard Pieces and Juggernaut, are considered some of his most famous works. Toward the end of the 1970s, the artist’s work showed the influences of earlier painters such as Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1746–1828), and Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). He also started using oil paint in his work. His 1970s works have been referred to as "canvas collage," an application of glued-on individual painted patches of canvas on the main canvas.
Walker took a position at the Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia. During his time there, he produced the Oceania series, works that include hints of native Oceanic Art. In 1976, Walker won the John Moores Painting Prize, and in 1985, he was nominated for the Turner Prize. His work can be found in galleries throughout the world, including the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Art Institute of Chicago, the British Museum in London, the City Art Gallery in Leeds, Harvard University Art Museums, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Imperial War Museum in London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Fogg Art Museum, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Gallery in Edinburgh, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2010, Walker and British artists Howard Hodgkin (British, b.1932), Ian Stephenson (British, 1934–2000), R.B. Kitaj (British, 1932–2007), John Hoyland (British, 1934–2011), and Patrick Caulfield (British, 1936–2005) were part of an exhibition called The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art From the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie. It was held at the Yale Center for British Art. Walker is currently the head of the graduate painting program at Boston University.