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In Memoriam
 
In Memoriam: Steve Walker (1961-2012)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 02/12/12
Last updated on: 02/14/12
 
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The death of acclaimed Canadian artist Steve Walker was announced on February 10, 2012 by James Lyman of the Lyman-Eyer Gallery in Provincetown. He died unexpectedly at his home in Costa Rica on January 4, 2012. He is survived by his mother and father and brother and sister. A funeral service is scheduled for February 25 in Ottawa, where he was born. A memorial service will be held later in Toronto, where he lived for many years.

Walker is responsible for some of the most famous images of gay male couples in contemporary popular culture. Executed in a photo realist style, his paintings of handsome men in emotionally charged situations owe something to the influence of Paul Cadmus, but the self-taught artist imbued them with his own distinctive romantic and often melancholy sensibility.

He described his work, which focuses almost exclusively on men together, as "a documentation, an interpretation, a crystallization of singular moments rendered in line, color, light, shadow, using a hundred brushes, a thousand colors, and a million brushstrokes. I strive to make people stop, if only a moment, think and actually feel something. My paintings contain as many questions as answers."

On his website, Steve Walker Artist, which contains a gallery of his images, he writes that "It simply never occurred to me to paint about themes in any other context than that of my own life as a person who happens to be gay. I had never had a problem relating to work created by heterosexuals in a heterosexual context. Why should I create paintings whose context was anything other than the truth of my life as a gay man?"

He also wrote, "I hope that in its silence, the body of my work has given a voice to my life, the lives of others, and in doing so, the dignity of all people."

Walker's images are highlighted in the four very different videos below.

 
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