Author: Justin Paton
Publication date: 05/11/2019
‘My painting tells you where I am at any given time, where I am living and the direction I am pointing in.’
McCahon (1919-1987) is widely recognised as an outstanding figure in twentieth century art whose ground-breaking work over four decades changed the way we see this country, while engaging intensely with questions of faith, mortality, belonging and the power of art.
In this landmark new book, published in association with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki on the 100th anniversary of McCahon’s birth, celebrated writer and curator Justin Paton takes readers on a journey through the landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand, as the artist loved and painted it.
From Otago to Canterbury, Takaka to Taranaki, Muriwai to Northland and many more places in between, Paton brings his curator’s eye to a selection of nearly 200 of McCahon’s paintings and drawings, including iconic and beloved works and others never before published, presented in fifteen themed sections offering fresh perspectives on McCahon’s abiding concerns.
In elegant, responsive and deeply compelling prose, the author traces McCahon’s travels through New Zealand, charts his remarkable development as a painter and thinker, explores his deepening engagement with Maori culture and environmental issues, and reveals his vision of the land as a source of light, peace and spiritual sustenance.
A book to introduce new viewers to McCahon’s vision and to enlarge the view for those who know the work well, McCahon Countryilluminates the beauty, spiritual urgency and enduring power of McCahon’s artworks.
Above all, it shows the reader how McCahon’s paintings get us looking at the world we live in with new eyes.
‘McCahon is not only New Zealand’s most significant or important artist. He is our most soulful artist, our most searching. He asks the most of art and the world it renders. One hundred years since his birth, he still wants to know what we should believe in and where we belong.’