Betty Curnow was an artist who played a unique part in the development of modernism in New Zealand. This exhibition, structured in three loosely chronological sections, focuses on her work from the 1930s through to the 1960s.
Her early career is represented by small works on paper and graphic designs from the 1930s and early 1940s. Also from this period are printing blocks and a fragment of blouse fabric held by the E H McCormick Research Library that can be seen in the Auckland Art Gallery’s Portrait of Betty Curnow, 1942 by Rita Angus.
The second section includes watercolours, drawings and wood engravings from the 1940s and 1950s. The latter serve as examples of her work during the time of her involvement with the growing art scene in Auckland post-1951, with its changing awareness of modern art.
The final section focuses on the most active period of Curnow’s career as an exhibiting artist, from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, in which she directed her energies towards printmaking.
Adapted from text by Ben Curnow, Guest Curator