Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Superb Walters Paintings

AA
View Discussion
Gordon Walters, Untitled, 1978, PVA and acrylic on canvas, 915 x 737 mm Walters hang at Crockford's: (l-r) Untitled, 1980, Untitled, c.1980, Untitled, 1885. Gordon Walters, Untitled, c.1962, 1250 x 900 mm Gordon Walters, 1985, acrylic on canvas, 310 x 260 mm Gordon Walters, l-r: Untitled, undated; Overlap,c. 1959-1961/1969-1973; Black on White, 1965; Untitled, 1978. Gordon Walters, Chrysanthemum, 1944, oil on cardboard, 647 x 522 mm (image) Gordon Walters, Transparency XI, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 355 x 460 mm Gordon Walters, Untitled Painting, 1954, gouache on paper, 300 x 365 mm (image) Gordon Walters, Construction in Blue, 1989, acrylic on canvas, 610 x 490 mm

What I find utterly intriguing is just how different Walters' koru paintings are from his other investigations. They are so overtly time based, requiring the eye to take time assessing compositional layout and tonal contrast. Most of his other works have a different quality entirely, focussing on qualities to do with picture plane tension, optics or logic.

Auckland

 

Gordon Walters
Works from the Estate

 

8 March - 26 March 2011

In this selection of a dozen canvases and the same number of drawings on tracing paper or collages - all from the Walters Estate - Sue Crockford presents a survey of Gordon Walters’ painting investigations: a magnificent demonstration of the breadth of his thought; a showcase of his range of interests. And though I for one adore his koru paintings (for reasons of musicality) more than his other projects, and would be happy to see only koru works, this show is an excellent way to examining his various approaches to painting organisation. Many are visual conversations with other artists, here ranging from Klee, Schoon, Hattaway, Herbin, McLaughlin, Riley, and anonymous kowhaiwhai rafter painters - putting forward his own response to their characteristic forms.

Even the most ardent and knowledgeable Walters enthusiast will find surprises here. Some works are sweet and colourfully exuberant, such as Untitled 1985, a geometric tip of the hat to the compositions of August Herbin. Others are austerely minimal with no chroma - like Untitled 1978, an investigation of a single section of one of Bridget Riley’s vertical bar paintings.

A few explore after-images, white auras that hover around the sharp edges of black rectangular shapes, or contextually caused darkening optical washes over white strips. Others look at the illusion of transparency or (as in two examples) the device of en abyme, where a painting refers to itself and depicts its own image - a rectangle inside a rectangle.

Whilst the viewer’s experience of standing in front of his work and concentrating on his image was always Walters’ main concern, this show brings out his working processes, starting with tracings made from earlier works which he cut up, reassembled, retraced and made paper collages from - testing scale as he went along.

What I find utterly intriguing is just how different his koru paintings are from his other investigations. They are so overtly time based, requiring the eye to take time assessing compositional layout and tonal contrast and how they effect the pulse. Most of Walters’ other works have a different quality entirely, focussing on qualities to do with picture plane tension, optics or logic. The gaze there doesn’t seek matching configurations of activated shape in the way that the positive/negative koru or Capogrossi-inspired images might do. These paintings are more holistic, more total, in their viewer function. Less complicated in the ocular muscular sense, though not in required analytic skills.

Crockford’s show is a rare opportunity to think about the different sorts of anticipated viewer interaction behind these practices, and the jump between one variety and the other. Maybe Walters’ friendship with Schoon is part of the equation. Or the Maori hostility to his use of their motif that surfaced at the time of the Headlands exhibition. Whatever the reason, that gap helps make this exhibition compelling viewing, something to ponder over when attending to these wonderful works.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) CVI, 2013, collage, 30.3 x 23.3 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London.

Repulsively Enchanting Stezaker

CITY GALLERY WELLINGTON

Wellington

 

John Stezaker
Lost World

 

26 August -19 November 2017

JH
Tomislav Nikolic, How Long Must We Live Right Before We Don't Even Have To Try (Role Model), 2017: #1, mixed medai; #2, mixed media; #3, mixed media;

Tomislav Nikolic Paintings

FOX JENSEN MCCRORY

Auckland

 

Tomislav Nikolic

How long must we live right before we don’t even have to try

12 October - 11 November 2017

JH
Phil Dadson: Notation  Series #6 (961), painting; Tonethrone, instrument; HEADSUP@961: 23.8.16, projection

Dadson at Headlands

AUDIO FOUNDATION

Auckland

 

Phil Dadson
Shiver Me Timbres: Solos and Collaborations with a Multi-Voiced Instrument

 

5 October - 28 October 2017

JH
Alexis Hunter, Untitled, undated and unsigned, ink and watercolour on paper, 275 x 380 mm

Alexis Hunter Sampler

TRISH CLARK GALLERY

Auckland

 

Alexis Hunter
Estate

 

6 October - 11 November 2017