Gordon Walters: Prints + Design

Gordon Walters: Prints + Design

Event Details

Gordon Walters (1919-95) was a pioneer of modernist abstraction in New Zealand. This painter showed an unflinching commitment to abstraction at a time when landscape was the norm. Walters is best known for his Koru works, whose unique stylisation of the Maori koru motif developed out of a phase of experimentation in the 1950s. The exhibition Gordon Walters: Prints + Design considers his printmaking and graphic design work as integral to his project.

Walters' earliest training was in commercial art, and for many years he worked at the Government Printing Office in Wellington. This background prepared him to successfully adapt his ideas to a variety of design contexts. The exhibition includes Walters' remarkable designs for such publications as LandfallAscent and Contemporary Maori Writing, along with a selection of Walters' page art for the magazine Te Ao Hou/The New World. This magazine, which reflects a key moment in New Zealand's bicultural history, was published by the Department of Maori Affairs and from 1962 to 1965 was edited by Walters' wife Margaret Orbell. A selection of works on paper from the late 1950s show how Walters drew on his painting in his designs for Te Ao Hou, publishing these images at a time when he was not exhibiting his paintings.

Walters' adoption of printmaking was part of a burgeoning interest in the medium in the late 1960s and 1970s. Printmaking enabled Walters' to bring his work to a wider audience, and the relatively new medium of screenprinting was perfectly suited to his hard-edged style. Indeed, Walters' screenprints are a highpoint in the medium in New Zealand. Printmaker Mervyn Williams, himself a painter, produced most of Walters' prints and ensured that they were realised to the artist's exacting standards. In addition to the prints, the exhibition includes collages, colour studies and camera-ready artwork, showing the intensive process by which Walters' developed his prints. "I find there is more work in all this than there is in doing a painting", he wrote in 1977.

Walters' use of Maori motifs has been the subject of much debate. His koru design for the New Zealand Film Commission has an important place in this exhibition. The logo, which was commissioned in 1979 and remains in use, has been enormously influential on New Zealand graphic design. As designer Michael Smythe wrote to Walters in 1983. "I believe you have essentially solved the problem of representing New Zealand's identity." Walters later remarked, "It seems that my approach is useful to graphic designers. I find it interesting that in spite of all the criticism, it is my reinterpretation of the [koru] motif which has been taken up and used to good effect."curated by William McAloon. also includes Walters' 1984 artist's book A Geometric Order. A collaboration with his friend, the painter Richard Killeen, its images were developed through a series of collages and working studies, a selection of which offer unique insight into Walters' working process.

Organised and presented by the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington.

Date
Location
Main Gallery, Ground Level
Cost
Free entry

Related Artworks

View Artwork

Not on display

Kapiti
Kapiti

Gordon Walters

Production date
1984
Medium
serigraph on arches paper
Size (h x w)
505 x 382 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Margaret Orbell, 2002
Accession no
2002/6
View Artwork

Not on display

Tawa
Tawa

Gordon Walters

Production date
1968
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
533 x 419 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1970
Accession no
1970/25/1/4
View Artwork

Not on display

Maho
Maho

Gordon Walters

Production date
1972
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
101 x 89 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1975
Accession no
1975/11
View Artwork

Not on display

Tama
Tama

Gordon Walters

Production date
1977
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
652 x 470 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1977
Accession no
1977/26
View Artwork

Not on display

Karaka
Karaka

Gordon Walters

Production date
1979
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
512 x 406 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/49
View Artwork

Not on display

Then
Then

Gordon Walters

Production date
1980
Medium
silkscreen
Size (h x w)
407 x 536 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Accession no
1982/36/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Kura
Kura

Gordon Walters

Production date
1982
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
555 x 445 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Accession no
1982/51
View Artwork

Not on display

Kahu
Kahu

Gordon Walters

Production date
1977
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
380 x 285 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Accession no
1982/52
View Artwork

Not on display

Tamaki
Tamaki

Gordon Walters

Production date
1983
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
610 x 457 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1984
Accession no
1984/11/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Rauponga
Rauponga

Gordon Walters

Production date
1983
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
402 x 493 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1984
Accession no
1984/11/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Arahura
Arahura

Gordon Walters

Production date
1982
Medium
silkscreen
Size (h x w)
507 x 406 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Accession no
1982/36/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Amoka
Amoka

Gordon Walters

Production date
1972
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
839 x 392 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr Peter Vuletic, 1982
Accession no
1982/53
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1982
Medium
ink
Size (h x w)
565 x 445 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1984
Accession no
1984/50/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1982
Medium
ink, watercolour
Size (h x w)
282 x 222 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1984
Accession no
1984/50/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1995
Medium
silkscreen
Size (h x w)
555 x 420 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1997
Accession no
1997/17/3
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled (study for Karaka II)
Untitled (study for Karaka II)

Gordon Walters

Production date
circa 1979
Medium
acrylic and collage
Size (h x w)
296 x 230 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1998
Accession no
1998/22
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1990
Medium
gouache on paper collage
Size (h x w)
190 x 155 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1993
Accession no
C1994/1/432
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1987
Medium
gouache on paper collage
Size (h x w)
190 x 155 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1993
Accession no
C1994/1/431
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Gordon Walters

Production date
1988
Medium
gouache on paper collage
Size (h x w)
165 x 140 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1993
Accession no
C1994/1/430