Gordon Walters (1919–1995) was a pioneer of modernist abstraction in New Zealand. He also trained and subsequently worked as a commercial artist including a decade-long stint at the Government Printing Office in Wellington from 1954 until the mid-1960s. One of Walters’ most recognisable pieces of graphic design is his 1979 logo for the New Zealand Film Commission. It utilised the simplified koru form, a motif Walters repeatedly returned to and refined throughout his practice.
The E H McCormick Research Library collections contain a number of instances of Walters’ striking designs and illustrations for publications. These include covers for the art and literary journals Landfall and Ascent and the 1973 Auckland Festival Programme. Walters’ also worked on allied projects with his wife, the academic and writer Margaret Orbell (1934–2006), including designing the cover for her book Contemporary Maori Writing (1970) and contributing page illustrations to the magazine Te Ao Hou, which Orbell edited between 1962 and 1966.
By the late 1960s Walters had also become interested in printmaking and his first print Tawa, 1968 was published as part of the Barry Lett Galleries Multiples. Curator William McAloon described the relevance of this strand in Walters’ practice: "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. Printmaker Mervyn Williams, himself a painter, produced most of Walters' prints and ensured that they were realised to the artist’s exacting standards."
- Curated by
- Catherine Hammond and Caroline McBride
- Mezzanine level display case
- Free entry