Friday, September 10, 2010

Lay me down

Colin McCahon famously turned away from the frame and produced most of his later work either as loose hanging canvases or on sheets of paper to be pinned straight to the wall. Only problem with the latter method was that after a few changes of position the pin holes started eating into the paper's corners like termites. And so McCahon’s works on paper, ours included, were framed one by one in black, in white, in natural timber raising all the dilemmas of mattes and the application of 'good' taste. Not something that would have made McCahon very happy but, if they were to survive most owners thought what else was to be done? Stick them down on canvas, that’s what.

If you want a great experience and you are in Auckland don’t miss the current catalogue exhibition at Gow Langsford. There are some terrific works in it and very nicely hung, but the standout for us was Colin McCahon's Rocks in the sky. This work on paper has been laid down on canvas and the effect is startling. Unframed and unglazed as the artist intended, it retains its integrity as an object and refers directly back to the 1970s when it would have been first shown. Not too bad for a thirty four year old.
Image: Top from left to right, Michael Parekowhai's Neil Keller, Colin McCahon Rocks in the sky, Ralph Hotere's Painting from Malady. A poem by Bill Manhire and 3 sacks by Allen Maddox. Bottom showing McCahon's work on paper laid down on canvas