Untitled [Wall hangings]

Crook, Gordon
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Gordon Crook was born in Richmond, England in 1921. At 17 he joined the Merchant Navy, and served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. After the war, he received a grant to study art at St Martin’s School, London and then continued his studies at the Central School of Art, London, where he graduated with a degree in textile design. For the next twenty-two years he lived and worked as a designer and teacher in London, during which time he was exposed to the developments of the Pop Art movement that was to have a major influence on his work.

In 1972 Crook immigrated to Wellington, New Zealand where his friend, the artist John Drawbridge lived, and he could focus solely on making art. In 1979 he was commissioned to create twenty banners for the New Zealand embassy in Washington. The banners reflect Crook’s interpretation of imagery from the South Pacific. He also created works for several other New Zealand embassies such as Tonga, Samoa and Mexico.

Between 1981 and 1983, Crook designed banners for the newly built Michael Fowler Centre, under the theme ‘Definitely Wellington’. He designed twenty-two pieces in total – twelve banners for the entrance foyer, as well as ten wall hangings, for the outer wall of the auditorium. These massive works have become icons of Wellington’s artistic culture and heritage and have helped ignite interest and appreciation of textiles as an art form.

In 1993 the Wellington City Gallery presented a major retrospective of Crook’s work, entitled ‘An Introduction to the World of Gordon Crook.’ The exhibition comprised of over 70 examples of his work, representing a range of his work from book art, collage, drawing, painting, paper casts, photomontage, printmaking and tapestry.

A documentary about his life and work was premiered at the 2010 International Film Festival in Wellington. Directed by Claire O’Leary, the film documented the life of the ‘the frank and charmingly idiosyncratic Crook,’ and definitively relocated the artist within the canons of great New Zealand artists.
wool, colour fast and fade free
7.5m x 7m
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