Monday 23 April 2018

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presents Gordon Walters: New Vision, a major retrospective of one of New Zealand’s foremost modern artists, opening Saturday 7 July.

The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the full spectrum of Walters’ sophisticated abstraction. It includes more than 130 artworks: from the early surrealist drawings of the mid-1940s and colourful gouache paintings of the 1950s, through to the visually complex koru series of the 1970s, and the later, refined geometric works.

Gordon Walters: New Vision begins with the surviving paintings first seen in Walters’ milestone 1966 exhibition at Auckland’s New Vision Gallery, when Walters chose – after many years of working in isolation – to make his abstract artworks public.

With unprecedented access to the private archives of the Walters Estate, this exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s complete body of work, including preparatory sketches and notebooks.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says this is the most significant exhibition of Walters’ work to date.

‘Rarely do we see such a complete exhibition of an artist’s practice. Many of these works have not been seen since they were first exhibited by Gordon Walters as far back as the 1940s. Some have rarely been on public view and are drawn from New Zealand and international collections, including those privately held.’

‘Developed in close partnership between Auckland Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Gordon Walters: New Vision has brought together experts from both organisations and beyond to ensure this immensely significant artist’s practice has been thoroughly explored and presented in a new light,’ says Devenport.

Exhibition co-curator and Auckland Art Gallery Curator, New Zealand Art, Julia Waite says Gordon Walters: New Vision provides an in-depth look into the history of Walters’ development, and reveals the different art forms that fuelled his vision and inspired the creation of his own unique visual language.

‘Many connect Walters’ name with his koru-inspired paintings. New Vision reveals how these profoundly modern and at times controversial works were the culmination of years of work and visual research into the arts of other cultures, which took the artist – both physically and imaginatively – offshore,’ she says.

New Vision looks beyond the koru to those forms that were equally significant to Walters’ practice to better appreciate the full extent of his artistic enquiries.’

The Walters Estate’s Gregg Schneideman says the Estate has been delighted to support Gordon Walters: New Vision and the associated research of the exhibition curators and their organisations.

‘The exhibition and accompanying publication present fresh insights and surprising linkages in an approachable and exciting manner, and really do offer new ways of looking at Gordon Walters and his work,’ he says.

Gordon Walters: New Vision has been has been developed in partnership with Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The exhibition was co-curated by Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki), Lucy Hammonds (Dunedin Public Art Gallery), and Professor Laurence Simmons (University of Auckland).

Exhibition details:

Gordon Walters: New Vision
When:  Saturday 7 July to Sunday 4 November 2018                                 
            10am to 5pm daily


New Zealand residents FREE
Members and Members Guests FREE (with valid Members card)
Children 12 & under FREE
International adults $20
International students $17 (with ID)

Accompanying publication: 

A substantial publication, Gordon Walters: New Vision, has been co-published by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Dunedin Public Art Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name.

This definitive book charts new art historical territory and provides the most complete view of Gordon Walters' life work to date. The book presents colour plates of works in the exhibition alongside other key works and includes essays by the three curators of the exhibition – Lucy Hammonds (Dunedin Public Art Gallery), Julia Waite (Auckland Art Gallery) and Professor Laurence Simmons (University of Auckland) – and six leading New Zealand and international scholars (Deidre Brown, Peter Brunt, Rex Butler, A.D.S. Donaldson, Luke Smythe and Thomas Crow) that reflect upon and reconsider the relationship between Walters’ work and his key sources of inspiration and influence.

Gordon Walters: New Vision has been selected for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards shortlist.

RRP $79.00

About Gordon Walters:

Pioneering abstract artist Gordon Walters (1919–1995) is a revered figure in New Zealand, recognised for a long and productive career spanning five decades. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presented the exhibition, Gordon Walters: A Retrospective, in 1983 and the survey exhibition, Parallel Lines: Gordon Walters in Context, in 1994. His work was included in A Very Peculiar Practice: aspects of recent New Zealand painting at the City Gallery, Wellington in 1995. In 2006, Gordon Walters was represented in the 5th Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery. His work is represented in the country’s major public art collections and his place in our art history is memorialised in the bi-annual Walters Prize exhibition and award at Auckland Art Gallery.

For more information, high-res images and interview requests contact:

Samantha McKegg, Communications Officer, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
+64 21 548 480

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