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New Work by Gordon Crook Idiom Studio

The Goddess series ­ new work by Gordon Crook Idiom Studio, 10 July - 4 August 2004

The late Galvan McNamara, a former director of the Dowse Art Museum, called Gordon Crook ³a consummate artist whose contribution to the visual language of this country is monumental.²

Gordon¹s work can be found in New Zealand diplomatic posts around the world, and in major public and private art collections. His latest solo exhibition, opening at Wellington¹s Idiom Studio on 10 July, shows that he is as active and innovative as ever.

His current series reaches back 7000 years to the Paleolithic age when, he says, ³there was no trace of a Father figure. The life-creating (and death-dealing) power seems to have been of the Great Goddess alone².

The images in this exhibition, including a hugely pregnant horned goddess and her various animal manifestations, are all taken from archaeological finds. Gordon described his fascination with these ancient images in a talk last year to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, which appointed him one of the city¹s Œliving treasures¹.

Gordon is presenting these images in a medium he has never used before - four- and five-folded painted screens, to be used as moveable room dividers. They were inspired, he says, by traditional Japanese lacquered screens, but updated for modern conditions. Rather than needing up to 16 coats of laquer, these images are painted on both sides of canvas or plywood panels. They are then set into a fine framework of waxed wood made by Gordon¹s longtime associate, Wellington framer and furniture maker Ron Barber.

The exhibition also includes collaged images reproduced as wall tapestries (woven by another of Gordon¹s regular collaborators, Blenheim craft weaver Lesley Nicholls), and as high-quality laser copies, a format he says is more durable than the original glued paper collages.

The laser prints are displayed as individually framed groups of up to 32 images. This idea came to Gordon after he gave a set of working drawings to the buyers of one of his large paintings. ³They framed each of the drawings and hung them on one wall. It absolutely knocked me over ­ they looked so good presented in that way.²

Attached: Tapestry and painted screen, Gordon Crook, 2004

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