Many people will be familiar with the work of Gordon Crook through his large vivid banners and wall hangings that have adorned the foyer of the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington since its doors opened in 1983; their bold abstract shapes and forms delighting thousands of concert goers over the years.
While perhaps most renowned for his textiles, Crook had an eclectic approach to making that saw him move between painting, collage, printmaking, paper-making, textiles, and stage design. The artist developed his own idiosyncratic visual language of symbols, animals, and figures. Crook regularly explored complex ideas through his practice – including religious and mythological icons and deities, and philosophical concepts. He was a brilliant colourist, and often incorporated unexpected materials into his practice, resulting in a body of work that remains fresh and vital even today.
Crook was born in 1921 in Richmond, London. He studied at St Martin's School and the Central School of Art in London, later lecturing at the Central School and the Royal College of Art. In 1972 at the age of 51 he left the UK bound for Aotearoa. Settling in Wellington, his cottage on Aro Street had an old stable out the back he used as his artist studio. When Crook died in 2011 the contents of this studio – hundreds of embroideries, paintings, photographs, works on paper, as well as a lifetime of sketches, plans, newspaper articles, and personal correspondence – passed into the care of the artist's dear friends Mark and Val Winter. The Winter family supported Crook throughout his career, celebrating every success and commiserating each disappointment. They now have the responsibility of caring for this incredible archive and continue to champion the artist’s work long after he has gone.
With this year marking 10 years since Crook passed away, and 100 years since his birth, Biographies Bore Me is a gesture of commemoration of this singularly creative mind.