Story: Painting

Gordon Walters, 'Painting no. 1'

Gordon Walters, 'Painting no. 1'

Although Gordon Walters had first used the koru (unfurling fern) shape in 1956, it was not until the mid-1960s that he simplified the idea in a way that satisfied him. This painting was exhibited in his first major solo show in 1966. It shows clearly the two traditions that met in his work – the traditional Māori koru shape, which he straightened, and European abstract art. Here, we see the way Walters confounded figure and ground, so that while the white koru on the left are figures against a black background, as we move to the right the white becomes the ground against which the black koru emerge.

About this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Reference: 66/13
PVA on board by Gordon Walters, 1965

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Courtesy of the Gordon Walters estate

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Painting - Abstraction', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/45897/gordon-walters-painting-no-1 (accessed 26 March 2017)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014