Gordon Walters

Gordon Walters was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1919. Walters trained at the Wellington Technical College in the 1930s. He travelled to Australia in 1946 and again in 1947, living in Sydney until 1949. Walters left for London and Europe in 1950 and returned to New Zealand in 1953. His career spanned six decades. In a time when landscape was the required subject in New Zealand he resolutely pursued geometric abstraction. His journey to Europe allowed him to study Mondrian and other European abstract painters at first hand. His lifelong response to Maori and Pacific indigenous art began in a time when most New Zealanders did not consider indigenous art to be “art” at all. His koru paintings, the motif of which is a geometric translation of the Maori koru, began in 1956 and lasted until his death in 1995. Walters painted ‘pure’ geometric abstractions throughout his life, endlessly paring down and refining his compositions. Their concerns include: transparency, the empty rectangle, and composition en abyme. In 1983, Auckland Art Gallery toured Gordon Walters, a retrospective exhibition of his work, and another survey Parallel Lines: Gordon Walters in Context in 1994 showed his wide ranging influence on contemporary New Zealand art.

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