Posts Tagged ‘McCahon’

A few weeks back I drove out on the Otago Peninsula. It is a lovely landscape and features in many NZ artworks e.g.

Florence And Harbour Cone (1974) by Robin White
Collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery

I was reminded of another Robyn and her project and “the idea of a travel guide from the 1968 being recontextualised in 2010”. I have really enjoyed Robyn’s posts on her journeys and was lucky enough to find a copy of the 1968 guide for myself for 50c.

The fascinating thing for me about this guide is the artwork. A travel guide, illustrated with paintings by Garth Tapper,Juliet Peter, Doris Lusk and Colin McCahon! Also photographs by Brian Brake and Marti Friedlander (amongst others)

The Otago section starts with a McCahon.

[Three Otago Landscapes: Cover design for The Shell Guide to New Zealand edited by Maurice Shadbolt], (1968) Colin McCahon

I love the idea around using these paintings, although I hope people didn’t take the artists’ interpretation of the landscape too literally.

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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,

Pie Jesu

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Book Learnin’

When you read about artists you often hear about the influence of art and/or art history books had on them. McCahon talks of it in his “Beginnings” essay for example.  Recently in some research I found that another artist (not uncommonly) had read their way through the entire art section of their local library.

Funnily, I had an artist rant at me for some time at an opening about “self-taught art historians telling me what my paintings are all about” who then went a bit red when I told him I was in fact a self-taught art historian of sorts.

Of sorts….so now I am very, very slowly working my way through the art and art history sections of my local library, which is better than I expected. I am just randomly picking stuff off the shelves. Today’s book is “50 artists you should know

Although I found this funny little comment about it:

This can be a useful library reference for upper-elementary and middle-school students. Of course, teachers and students should be wary of so simplistic a title as 50 Artists You Should Know and the limitations of focusing on Eurocentric and American art (virtually all male artists).”

Luckily it seems to have been followed up by this title, “40 women artists you should know” but my library doesn’t have a copy ;-)

Any suggestions of “not to be missed” art books will be gratefully received.

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When does the art detective work start causing delusions????

I have always loved this painting by Russell Clark (only linking in case Te Papa takes a hit out me – I can’t afford their fees to officially publish here sorry). It captures a time in Dunedin that intrigues me. I haven’t done much work to see if anyone has tried to identify the figures, but I think Clark himself is just below the picture of the horse, dark hair and fag in his mouth. I am guessing this because the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry reads “Slightly built and dark-skinned, with a mop of wavy dark hair, Clark was seldom seen without a cigarette to his lips.”

Now look at the young man in the brown suit in the middle left, who seems to be looking out into the distance. To me he looks like this person (persevere with the link – accept the terms and it will take you to the portrait).

I suppose this is old news? The two paintings are of the same era. Clark’s is 1934-1938 and the Lusk portrait 1939, and they moved in the same small circles, so it’s fairly likely. Of course I may be taking it all too literally.

I just wish I could post the paintings side by side here…

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