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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See 6 Sep 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Gordon Walters

(1919 - 1995), New Zealand

In the mid-1960s, Gordon Walters emerged as a unique presence in the modern movement in New Zealand. His works engaging with international modernism in a series of geometric, abstract paintings that positioned the traditional, organic koru form of Māori art within the aesthetics of European and American abstraction.

Walters had attended the Wellington Technical School of Art, New Zealand (1935-1944), becoming interested in European modernism through reproductions of works by Yves Tanguy and his association with Dutch refugee, Theo Schoon, who introduced Walters to Māori rock art.

Travelling to Europe in 1950, he was exposed to works by Mondrian, as well as the pure abstraction of Victor Vasarely. In the mid fifties he had researched Māori rafter painting and decorative design by visiting museums with fellow artist Theo Schoon and analyzing the forms. Walters modified the fern motif found in Maori meeting houses and traditional Polynesian tattoos, by geometricizing it and alternating positive and negative versions in the manner of the Italian painter Giuseppe Caprogrossi (1900 -1972) but with a horizontal axis. From the mid-1950s his painting utilized this koru form, , responding to its potential for simultaneously defining positive and negative space on the surface of the picture plane.

Using black and white (softened sometimes to grey and cream) Walters’ canvases created a pulsing musicality. When the korus were vertically stacked, an optical shimmer akin to that found in the works of Bridget Riley, occurred. Or when sparely organized, a subtle lyricism was created. Walters also often experimented with muted colour and dramatically enlarged korus, always settling on final composition and scale by adjusting preparatory collages.

In the mid nineteen-eighties Walters abandoned korus and began using austere rectanglar planar compositions that investigated tensions and spatial suggestiveness resulting from transparency, colour, tone and proportion. These were a result of his long interest in the French abstract artist Herbin, the American abstract artist McLaughlin and forms found in Māori cave art.

This much revered figure of New Zealand modernism is represented in all New Zealand’s major collections as well as public collections in Australia. In 1983 the Auckland Art Gallery presented a retrospective.

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Featured Artworks

View All (27)
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled, 1992 Acrylic on canvas
51 x 41 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled, 1990 Acrylic on canvas
51 x 41 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled II by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled II, 1953 Gouache on paper
45 x 56 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled, 1948 Acrylic on board
50 x 40 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled Acrylic on canvas
48 x 36 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled, 1969–1973 Acrylic on canvas
48 x 36 cm
Starkwhite
Study for No. 2/Tirangi by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersStudy for No. 2/Tirangi, 1979 Acrylic on paper
25 x 20 cm
Starkwhite
Untitled by Gordon Walters contemporary artwork
Gordon WaltersUntitled, 1978 PVA and acrylic on canvas
150 x 120 cm
Starkwhite

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Gordon Walters, Gordon Walters at Starkwhite, Auckland
Closed
29 May–16 June 2018 Gordon Walters Gordon Walters Starkwhite, Auckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Gordon Walters, Gouaches and a Painting from the 1950s at Starkwhite, Auckland
Closed
21 September–24 October 2015 Gordon Walters Gouaches and a Painting from the 1950s Starkwhite, Auckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show - in association with mr. mod, So Last Century at Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch
Closed
13 June–12 July 2014 Group Show - in association with mr. mod So Last Century Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Auckland Art Exhibitions: The Lowdown Ocula Report Auckland Art Exhibitions: The Lowdown 22 May 2018 : Anna Dickie for Ocula

The time is ripe to galvanise New Zealand's public to more fully support its visual arts. With New Zealand-born artists like Simon Denny, Michael Stevenson and Francis Upritchard continuing to gain international acclaim, and a Turner Prize nominee in Luke Willis Thompson, the international art world is beginning to take notice of this small...

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