Exhibitions

Gordon Walters | Gouaches and a Painting from the 1950s

21.09.15 - 24.10.15

21 September – 24 October 2015

This exhibition has been curated for Starkwhite by Laurence Simmons, one of New Zealand’s foremost scholars on the work of pioneering abstract artist Gordon Walters. It is presented in partnership with the Walters Estate and with the support of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery where the Estate’s extensive holdings of artworks and archival material are being housed and cared for under a long-term agreement between the two parties.

There are three important sources that inform Walters’ gouache works, which were mostly painted over a decade at night while he worked for the Government Printing Office during the day. First of all, Walters had worked his way aboard ship to London in 1950. In 1951 on a continental excursion, he was exposed first-hand to the geometrical abstractions of Auguste Herbin, Alberto Magnelli and Victor Vasarely at the Denise René Gallery in Paris; and then the works of Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Secondly, into this heady engagement with European modernity upon his return to New Zealand Walters was to inject his prior interest in the field of Maori rock art. During the summer of 1946-47 he had worked closely alongside Indonesian expatriate Theo Schoon recording Maori rock drawings in the limestone bluffs and shelters of South Canterbury, places which Schoon majestically described as ‘New Zealand’s oldest art galleries’. The rock-art depiction of human and animal figures with blank centres inspired the geometry and interlocking structures of stylized anthropomorphic figures that were to appear later in many of Walters’ gouaches. Thirdly, in 1953 Schoon had also introduced Walters to the work of Rolfe Hattaway, a permanently hospitalised psychiatric patient whose drawings made with a lump of clay on the asphalt of an exercise yard had captivated Schoon when employed as an orderly at the Avondale psychiatric hospital. Schoon provided Hattaway with art materials and later he and Walters copied Hattaway’s loopy tumults of line, in particular the repeated motif of a long open rectangle penetrated by a curving snake-like form. The importance for Walters of this positive form penetrated by a negative emptiness was now confirmed for him from an arresting double source: rock art and outsider art. These two tours de force dramatise the radical aesthetics of Walters’ fifties gouaches that willfully blur the differences between abstraction and nature.

Walters’ rapid study gouaches of the 1950s called for a certain tenacity of purpose, sustained analysis and prolonged concentration. They yielded a surprising narrative of astonishing range, providing images and compositions that would carry Walters through the decades to follow. Years later he was still using motifs he had stored in his visual memory from the fifties. For the paradox remains that in such an elaborated intellectual practice of painting as Walters’ so many of the key effects and decisions are derived from moments of pure coincidence and inspiration. Walters’ best works of this period are permanently embroiled in the present tense of their making; they would be just as fresh as if created today or tomorrow.

Laurence Simmons, September 2015

Gordon Walters is best known for his paintings employing the koru, the curving bulb form from Maori moko and kowhaiwhai rafter patterns. He is a revered figure in New Zealand, recognised for a long and productive career spanning four decades. The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki presented a retrospective exhibition his work in 1983 and a survey exhibition Parallel Lines in 1994, and he has been included in many survey shows, including A Very Peculiar Practice: Aspects of Recent New Zealand Art at the City Gallery, Wellington. In 2014 Starkwhite and the Walters Estate presenteda small survey show of his koru paintings at Art Basel Hong Kong. Walters is represented in the country’s major public collections and his place in our art history is memorialised in the bi-annual Walters Prize exhibition and award at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

Laurence Simmons is Associate Dean (Postgraduate) and Professor of Film Studies in the School of Social Sciences at The University of Auckland. He has written extensively on contemporary New Zealand art and photography and his latest two books are Tuhituhi (2011), on the painter William Hodges who journeyed with Captain James Cook on his second voyage to the South Pacific, and Blutopia (2014), on the artist John Reynolds.

Exhibitions

Current

Past

John Reynolds | Some Greater Plan (for Claire)

04.06 - 06.07

Fiona Pardington | Te taha o te rangi

16.04 - 25.05

Gordon Walters | History

09.02 - 31.03

Whitney Bedford, Bill Henson, Ani O'Neill, Jonny Niesche, and Fiona Pardington | Sampler 2024

09.02 - 31.03

Jamie Te Heuheu | Quiet Thoughts and Quiet Dreams

23.11.23 - 13.01.24

Bill Henson | The Liquid Night

23.11.23 - 31.01.24

Bonco | Star Stare Start

20.10.23 - 19.11.23

Clinton Watkins | Depth of Field

20.10.23 - 19.11.23

Gordon Walters by Francis Pound | Book Launch

14.09.23

Curated by Jonny Niesche | Ümwelt

01.09.23 - 07.10.23

Richard Maloy | Raw

27.07.23 - 27.08.23

Petra Cortright | micro lemon diamond realm

07.07.23 - 26.08.23

Jonny Niesche | You say sfumato, I say sfumato

12.05.23 - 27.06.23

Billy Apple® | Divine Proportion

23.02.23 - 08.04.23

Gerold Miller, Gordon Walters | Miller meets Walters

08.12.23 - 31.01.23

FuckCancer_DontDelayFun | Blind Auction

27.10.22 - 05.11.22

John Reynolds | APOCALYPSEoCLOCK

21.10.22 - 01.12.22

Whitney Bedford | Imaginary

30.08.22 - 15.10.22

Seung Yul Oh | Huggong-Monologue

09.07.22 - 20.08.22

Gerold Miller

01.06.22 - 02.07.22

Bill Henson | Selected Works

30.04.22 - 29.05.22

Layla Rudneva-Mckay | I Roll

15.02.22 - 19.03.22

Fiona Pardington | Tarota

16.11.21 – 18.12.21

Fiona Pardington | Tarota Preview

05.10.21 – 07.10.21

Jan van der Ploeg | The Other Window

17.08.21 – 12.10.21

Laith McGregor | Second Wind

03.07.21 – 07.08.21

Richard Maloy | Maternal Routine

03.06.21 - 19.06.21

Bill Henson | 1985-2021

21.05.21 - 19.06.21

Martin Basher | Birds of Paradise

13.04.21 - 14.05.21

Will Cooke | Every Wall Is A Door

15.01.21 - 13.02.21

Jonny Niesche | Poikilos

17.11.20 - 22.12.20

Gemma Smith | Thin Air

06.10.20 - 07.11.20

Whitney Bedford, Petra Cortright, Kirsten Everberg, Judy Ledgerwood | Slippery Painting

01.09.20 - 03.10.20

Jin Jiangbo, John Reynolds | Performative Geographies

14.07.20 - 15.08.20

Group Show | Sampler 2020

14.05.20 - 06.06.20

Gordon Walters | From the Archive

05.02.20 - 07.03.20

Richard Maloy | Studio: Space & Time

28.01.20 - 01.02.20

Rebecca Baumann | New Work

27.11.19 - 21.12.19

The Estate of L. Budd et al. | the artists in conversation

22.10.19 - 16.11.19

John Reynolds | The Art of Wine

14.10.19

Billy Apple® and Tāme Iti | Flagged

08.10.19 - 12.10.19

Clinton Watkins | binary

19.09.19 - 03.11.19

Yuk King Tan | Crisis of the Ordinary

21.08.19 - 14.09.19

Group Show | Sampler 2019

23.07.19 - 15.08.19

Fiona Pardington | TIKI: Orphans of Māoriland

12.06.19 - 11.07.19

Laith McGregor | AM/PM/AM

09.05.19 - 08.06.19

BILLY APPLE® is N=One

11.04.19 - 05.05.19

Ani O'Neill | Classic Hits

14.03.19 - 10.04.19

Alicia Frankovich | Microchimerism

08.02.19 - 06.03.19

Martin Basher | One Week Stand

24.01.19 - 02.02.19

The Estate of L.Budd_et al.

11.12.18 - 22.12.18, 02.01.19 - 12.01.19

Gavin Hipkins | Block Units

14.11.18 - 08.12.18

John Stezaker | Collages

09.10.18 - 03.11.18

Grant Stevens | The Mountain and the Waterfalls

01.09.18 - 29.09.18

Whitney Bedford | Bohemia

31.07.18 - 24.08.18

Seung Yul Oh | Horizontal Loop

26.06.18 - 28.07.18

Gordon Walters | From the Walters Estate

29.05.18 - 16.06.18

Group Show | Sampler 2018

17.04.18 - 26.05.18

Alicia Frankovich, Ani O’Neill, The Estate of L Budd, et al. | 125

13.03.18 - 07.04.18

Len Lye | Love Springs Eternal

07.02.18 - 07.03.18

Richard Maloy | Things I have Seen

22.12.17

Michael Zavros | The Silver Fox

17.11.17 - 16.12.17

John Reynolds | RocksInTheSky...

17.11.17 - 24.12.17

Martin Basher | Devil at the Gates of Heaven

10.10.17 - 04.11.17

Daniel von Sturmer | Luminous Figures

02.09.17 - 30.09.17

Martin Basher | Hawaiian Tropic

01.08.17 - 26.08.17

Fiona Pardington | Nabokov's Blues: The Charmed Circle

23.06.17 - 23.07.17

John Reynolds | FrenchBayDarkly…

17.05.17 - 17.06.17

Group Show | On the Grounds

02.03.17 - 08.04.17

Billy Apple® | Art Transactions

08.02.17 - 04.03.17

Gavin Hipkins, Jin Jiangbo, Danie Mellor | Beyond Landscape

17.11.16 - 17.12.16

Laith McGregor | Swallow the Sun

01.10.16 - 12.11.16

Matt Henry | Analogues

19.09.16 - 14.10.16

John Reynolds | WalkWithMe...

30.08.16 - 24.09.16

Daniel Crooks | Vanishing Point

03.08.16 - 27.18.16

Gavin Hipkins, Richard Maloy, Daniel von Sturmer | Material Candour

05.07.16 - 22.07.16

Layla Rudneva-Mackay | Running Towards Water

07.06.16 - 08.07.16

Fiona Pardington | 100% Unicorn

24.05.16 - 25.06.16

Clinton Watkins | lowercase

19.04.16 - 18.05.16

Whitney Bedford 2016 | Lost and Found

15.03.16 - 14.04.16

Fiona Clark | For Pink Pussycat Club as part of THE BILL

20.02.16 - 22.04.16

Alicia Frankovich | The Female has Undergone Several Manifestations

06.02.16 - 05.03.16

Fiona Pardington | The Popular Recreator

11.12.15 - 23.12.15

Gavin Hipkins | Block Paintings

04.11.15 - 05.12.15

Gordon Walters | Gouaches and a Painting from the 1950s

21.09.15 - 24.10.15

Fiona Pardington | Childish Things

12.08.15 - 19.09.15

Rebecca Baumann, Brendan Van Hek, Alicia Frankovich, Len Lye, László Moholy-Nagy and Grant Stevens | In Motion

10.07.15 - 08.08.15

Grant Stevens | Hold Together, Fall Apart

07.07.15 - 02.08.15

Laith McGregor | Somewhere Anywhere

02.06.15 - 04.07.15

Arnold Manaaki Wilson, Billy Apple® | TOTEM | curated by Mary Morrison

01.05.15 - 30.05.15

Martin Basher | Jizzy Velvet

03.02.15 - 14.03.15

John Reynolds | BLUTOPIA

19.12.14

Seung Yul Oh | memmem

31.10.14 - 06.12.14

Gavin Hipkins | Erewhon

31.10.14 - 29.11.14

Rebecca Baumann | Once More With Feeling

19.09.14 - 18.10.14

Michael Zavros | Bad Dad

02.06.14 - 28.06.14

THE ANALYSIS OF BILLY APPLE®

05.05.14 - 10.05.14

Jin Jiangbo, Stella Brennan, Billy Apple, Trenton Garratt, Seung Yul Oh, John Reynolds, Layla Rudneva-Mackay, Jim Speers, Yuk King Tan and Wang Dawei | SIGNALS

08.08.14 - 13.09.14

Layla Rudneva-Mackay | Blue Squares, Purple Pairs

17.03.14 - 12.04.14

Curated by Martin Basher | Lovers

06.02.14 - 06.03.14

Glen Hayward | I don't want you to worry about me

06.12.13 - 31.01.14

Matt Henry | High Fidelity

16.11.13 - 14.12.13

Li Xiaofei | Assembly Line - Entrance

03.10.13 - 26.10.13

Richard Maloy | All the things I did

04.09.13 - 30.09.13

John Reynolds | Vagabondage

22.08.13 - 21.09.13

Clinton Watkins | Frequency Colour

25.07.13 - 16.08.13

Curated by Robert Leonard | BAZINGA!

11.05.13 - 08.06.13

Whitney Bedford | This for That

09.04.13 - 04.05.13

Jin Jiangbo | Rules of Nature

08.03.13 - 04.04.13

Martin Basher | Solo Exhibition

05.02.2013 - 02.03.13

Ross Manning | Field Emissions

29.11.12 - 22.12.12, 15.01.13 - 22.01.13

Seung Yul Oh | HUGGONG

23.10.12 - 17.11.12

Jae Hoon Lee | Antarctic Fever

18.09.12 - 13.10.12

Curated by Brian Butler | Greetings from Los Angeles: Eight Artists

10.07.12 - 06.08.12