The paintings in this exhibition are a direct response to Walter Sickert’s Camden Town nudes shown at the Courtauld Institute of Art in late 2007, and in particular to ‘La Hollandaise’ (Tate). Having visited the exhibition many times, McFadyen felt that Sickert would have had to go some way further to shock an audience today. As a consequence this collection of ‘Sickert-ian’ erotic paintings have become somewhat more explicit in some cases, while others retain a softness and romance. With tongue firmly in cheek the work serves as an acknowledgement of the current trend towards nostalgic feeling around antiquity and remains separate and distinct to the urban landscapes for which McFadyen has become well known.
‘After Walter’ consists of over 60 boudoir interiors in a cod Edwardian style with distressed decorative frames. They are meant as a complete installation thus the idea of exhibiting them in 24 Princelet Street, a faked up-real Georgian house, which architect & gallery owner Chris Dyson transformed from a dilapidated former sweat shop, stripped of all its original features, into a wonderful reconstruction of its former glories. The transformation is both dramatic (considering its original state) and subtle, effortlessly sitting alongside all of the other Georgian houses in the street. An important element of the exhibition, and its location in Spitalfields, is that the works are shot through with artifice, further connecting them with the space.