Thursday, August 30, 2007

Window of opportunity

This extraordinary stained glass window for Cologne Cathedral by German painter Gerhard Richter. Inspired by the idea of pixels, the window fills the 20-meter-high space with 11,500 squares of glass in 72 colours and got us thinking about painters who have responded to similar commissions in New Zealand. Three or four projects immediately came to mind. The most well-known is probably Colin McCahon’s painted glass work at the Convent Chapel in Upland Road for the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. He was famously helped by the art student Richard Killeen who, “protected me on the narrow planks, always passing on the outside…” The windows have since been removed and, as far as we know, are now in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery. Milan Mrkusich created a number of stained glass windows including the windows for St Joseph's Catholic Church in Grey Lynn (at 456 Great North Road). According to the Auckland City Council Heritage site, the windows including that of the Resurrected Christ above the entrance, were described "as the largest abstract works in New Zealand at the time." Then there’s Robert Ellis’s stained glass in the Nave of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity also in Auckland as well as Shane Cotton’s more recently completed windows for St Joseph’s Church in Wellington. Click on image for enlarged view - definitely worth it.