A major exhibition catalogue for Auckland Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Gordon Walters: New Vision presents the first complete picture of the artist's extensive body of work. Best known for his koru paintings of the 1970s and 80s, the book and exhibition aimed to introduce Walters less-known early abstractions to the New Zealand public alongside his distinctive koru works.
The clean modernist design of the book compliments Walters' rigorous abstraction with material, colour, composition and typography – yet there is also playful and unexpected composition and colour paced throughout the book.
The cover design takes its cue from the striking Painting J, which is complimented by printed fabric split horizontally across the case. The title typography is restrained, using just colour to differentiate the title elements. The full circles of the G and O have a strong resonance with Walters abstracted koru form.
The internal design works from a base of generous white space and subtle, light typography. Caption text is minimised by a visually structured system to link captions to multiple works on the page. Heading type, as on the cover, is differentiated by colour alone, not by weight, size or style.
Essays and plates are broken into alternating sections, so the artwork reproductions always sit near to their commentaries. Works are reproduced relative to original sizes to give major works prominence within the book. Where multiple works share a page the layouts are varied and playful. There are several gatefolds allowing 3 or 4 works from a series to be viewed together. Great care has been taken with the colour reproductions, which closely match the original artworks.
The book, while full of images and writing feels open and approachable and never crowded – important for a book about an artist who took such a reductive approach to his own work.