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Posts Tagged ‘Edmond’

Read this book

I found myself raving about this book to someone earlier in the week so I thought I’d rave blog about it here too.

Edmond sets out to trace the route of Colin McCahon when in 1984 on a trip to Sydney 1984, he went missing in the palm grove in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, and was found by police early next morning in Centennial Park, kilometres away. Framing the journey in part with the stations of the cross, Edmond explores not only the city but the nature of art, faith and loss. Personal experiences and stories intertwine with the McCahon narrative and tangents led on to diverse subjects such as Carmen Rupene, John Calvin and circus elephants. A certain sadness permeated the book, and to me it read as a kind of secular requiem for McCahon.

Yet again Auckland University Press has shown faith in it’s authors with this modest and yet courageous book. I loved it.

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon by Martin Edmond
July 2011,
ISBN 978 1 86940 483 3
Paperback, 208p,
$37.99

Pie Jesu

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Ray of Light

It has been gloomy. I’ve been doing a little research about memory and the things we remember with and it led onto an exploration of loss; loss of our memory anchors, the objects of memory, our built memory. You cannot consider these things without sadness and frustration especially when you read things like this and this.

However today I received some slightly heartening news,  if trivial in comparison.

In terms of subject matter, most of Clairmont’s major series are implied in this set of drawings: there are chairs, tabletops, doorways, windows, a fireplace; with the exception of his nudes and self portraits, these compromise his major preoccupations. It is not an exaggeration to say that Clairmont spent the rest of his life exploring implications and possibilities he discovered in the sitting room of 26 Hereford Street

From “The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont” by Martin Edmond, (1999), Pg 130

I had the opportunity to enquire about the post-quake status of 26 Hereford Street and was sent this photo taken just this morning (thanks N.).

A brilliant example of work done in the front downstairs room and showing the bowed windows can be found here a typical scene for Clairmont done at night, illuminated by electric light.

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I’ve been writing.

Full text of my essay in Barry Brickell: Six Spiromorphs can be read here

and

My review of Martin Edmond’s “Zone of there Marvellous” here. Martin’s latest book is a limited edition of 50 and it sounds like larger works and interesting projects are on the way.

I am working on a new catalogue essay for a show coming up at Brett McDowell Gallery in Dunedin. This will also be published by Kilmog Press. Details to come.

Also Kilmog is the subject of  in this week’s Cultural Curmudgeon column in the Listener (preview: full text available in a couple of weeks).

Am I sounding like an advertisement? Oh well. Here is some Dunedin street art not advertising anything.

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In the zone

I have been very lucky of late and part of my ‘haul’ was a copy of Martin Edmond’s new book Zone of the Marvellous that I won from Auckland University Press (and I checked - it was Raetihi).  And since its NZ Book Month, I thought I’d write a bit about it here.*

zone

This book was helped along with a Copyright Licensing Writers’ Award won by the author in 2007  and is a an amazing treasure box of fact, fiction, myth, history, fable and imagination in search of the antipodes. In eight discrete essays, the author writes that what he seeks “to do is describe how this other place was first rumoured, then imagined, then looked for, discovered, plundered, colonised and finally domesticated”.

Following the rather ‘straight’, yet lyrical telling of the historical story in The Supply Party (Edmond’s last book), Zone of the Marvellous goes back to the densely packed stories and tangents found in Luca Antara. For me Supply Party had strong undertones of loss and absence. Zone, although also telling tales of journeys, is much richer. Perhaps simply a contrast of the Australian outback to the tropics of the Pacific and the Asian spice routes.

Reviews I have read only touched lightly on the final chapter After Erewhon yet I had to restrain myself from not jumping to that one first. Here Edmond considers “artists, of those who continue the dialogue between the real and ideal in their work” with a particular focus on Sidney Nolan and Colin McCahon. This exploration of the antipodes in a rather different form from the other chapters is quite a contrast, unless you consider these artists as adventurers and risk takers as much as Marco Polo, Dampier, or Cook.

I hadn’t considered McCahon and Nolan as ‘near contemporaries’ before and it is very interesting to consider them in terms of the “Holy Yes and the Holy No as equal and opposite paths to enlightenment“. This chapter has given me much food for thought and Edmond’s analysis of McCahon’s work is quite a different take from much that I have read before.

My only quibble over the whole book is that it might have been nice to have included some illustrations, particularly of the ancients maps discussed. However it is sparked my interest to go and seek these out myself.

I liked this book for many reasons; the continuing themes of journeys and exploration in much of Edmond’s work, the new ideas and stories it led me to. However, it was the beautiful writing that kept me reading it almost straight through in one sitting. It is history not in an academic style but as a yarn or epic, told by the fire with all the embellishment and intrigue that suggests.

* Apologies, all my ‘reviews’ end up sounding like something you’d write for high school English

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