Tropical Pattern

Richard Killeen, Artist

This is one of the prints in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in 1978.
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Object Detail

Image: 302 x 302mm
The power of both Walters' and Killeen's works lies in their simplicity. It is left to the sharp edges, bold forms and block colours to make an impression on the viewer. It is difficult not to be arrested by the sign-like qualities of both artists' works. Both Walters and Killeen frequently created images that floated on their surface with little to no inclusion of perspective or focal depth. This heightened composition and created equal emphasis to the positive and negative spaces in their work. Much like many forms of traditional Māori art, the space around the elements in a work is equally as important as the forms themselves and serves to add pattern and rhythm to the works.
Both artists avoided a totally Modernist 'International Style' in their oeuvre by adopting and adapting local icons. Walters instigated a strong debate early in his career over his use of stylised koru. This debate has dissipated rather than resolved itself, but despite this Walters' use of koru has become iconic of his work. The triangular forms that frequent Killeen's painted and printed work are thought by many to be abstracted from Polynesian and Māori comb designs. These signature abstractions work to connect both Walters' and Killeen to a Pacific, and more specifically New Zealand, cultural context.
- from 'Walters and Killeen', John Leech Gallery, 30 March - 23 April 2011,
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1978.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
11 Sep 1978



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