Title: Gordon Walters
Author: POUND FRANCIS & BELL LEONARD
The first substantial monograph on the art of one of this country’s most influential artists, Gordon Walters.
In this remarkable study by the late Francis Pound, author of the landmark Invention of New Zealand, we are introduced to the making of a New Zealand modernist – tracing the work of Gordon Walters (1919–1995) from student charcoal sketches in the 1930s to the revelation of the mature Koru works at the 1966 New Vision Gallery exhibition in Auckland.
Pound follows Walters through steps and missteps, explorations and diversions, travel in Aotearoa and overseas, as the artist discovers new forms, invents others and discards many more. Pound looks hard at the paint, the brushes, the rulers, the scrapbooks, to reveal an artist at work. And, resolutely internationalist like the artist, the author provides not only astute insights into Walters’ art, but also a guide to the elements and ideas that informed the work – notably, Maori and Pacific art, surrealism, Mondrian, De Stijl, the Bauhaus and Euro-American abstraction, conceptual art and minimalism.
With Francis Pound accompanying us through the work as guide, critic, wit and enthusiast, Gordon Walters is an extraordinary journey into twentieth-century art.
Dr Francis Pound (1948–2017) was a New Zealand art historian, curator and writer. He taught for some years in the art history department of the University of Auckland before becoming an independent art curator and writer. His books include Frames on the Land: Early Landscape Painting in New Zealand (Collins, 1983), The Space Between: Pakeha Use of Maori Motifs in Modernist New Zealand Art (Workshop Press, 1994), Stories We Tell Ourselves: The Paintings of Richard Killeen (Auckland Art Gallery and David Bateman, 1999), Walters: En Abyme (Gus Fisher Gallery, 2004) and The Invention of New Zealand: Art & National Identity, 1930–1970 (Auckland University Press, 2009).
Leonard Bell is an independent art and cultural historian based in Auckland. Among other works, he is author of Colonial Constructs: European Images of Maori 1840–1914 (1992), Marti Friedlander (2009), Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930–1980 (2017) and Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists (2020), all published by Auckland University Press.