Gordon Walters


Patere by Gordon Walters

Artwork Detail

Patere is a classic Walters' koru painting of the late 1970s. In contrast to earlier koru works, such as Painting no.1 (1965), the bands are thicker and less numerous, and the oscillating op-art effect of the image is reduced in consequence. According to Michael Dunn, the period from 1973 to 1976 was a reflective phase of Walters' career, with the artist returning to previous compositions seeking to refine them. Dunn describes the koru paintings of the following couple of years as 'his most assured and confident work.'

The majority of these works use only black and white paint. Indeed, Walters declared in 1978, 'The koru works best in black and white or in one colour on white.' However, this is not a position he maintained, as in the early 1980s he became concerned with the harsh contrast that resulted, and attempted to reduce this by altering his palette. Maheno (1981), for example, is painted using dark grey and off-white.

The word Patere has numerous different meanings in Māori, but in this instance it can be interpreted as a reference to a chant as the painting has a fluid, melodic quality. Other works of the same year include Karakia and Waiata, and both have a similar quality, combined with a sense of harmony and balance.

Gordon Walters
Production date
PVA and acrylic on canvas
1530 x 1145 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2005
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

To find out which artworks are available for print requests and reproduction please enquire here. This service only applies to select artworks in the Gallery's collection.