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Poking holes in the space beyond

Sarah Farrar on Colin McCahon’s environments


<P data-associrn="763435"></P> <P><STRONG>I am scared / I STAND UP</STRONG></P> <P>When a dear friend and colleague died in 2012 someone offered to lend me a small Colin McCahon painting they owned. It was intended as a gesture of support, an acknowledgment of something beyond words, and it was a powerful reminder that paintings can in fact offer ‘signs and symbols to live by’.<SUP><FONT size=2>1</FONT></SUP> A generous offer in so many ways, it was one that &#8211; at the time &#8211; I felt I couldn’t accept. </P> <P>In spite of this, over the past 18 months I have been drawn again and again to McCahon’s work in Te Papa’s collection. Perhaps it’s due to a fragile emotional state, but these works have struck me with painful clarity, and continue to resonate deeply. ‘I am scared / I STAND UP’, the words painted on <EM>Scared</EM>, 1976, could almost be a personal mantra.</P> <P><STRONG>Walk with me</STRONG></P> <P data-associrn="399891"></P> <P data-associrn="657795"></P> <P>In 1973 when McCahon painted <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> he was grieving the loss of several friends and his mother. It was an incredibly difficult time, as a letter to art historian Gordon H Brown reveals: ‘I’ve been painting and feel awful. It’s not what I wanted, but what my God allows me . . . I think I’ve got there. It’s been a terrible struggle and perhaps I’ve made it.’<SUP><FONT size=2>2</FONT></SUP></P> <P>One friend’s death had particularly troubled McCahon because they had fallen out in recent years. This friend was the poet and playwright James K Baxter, whom McCahon had met as a 17-year-old in 1943. Writing to a friend Malcolm Ross in March 1973, McCahon reflected upon his relationship with Baxter: ‘He and I seem to have had a few battles over the years, and now I so much respect him.’<SUP><FONT size=2>3</FONT></SUP></P> <P>In the month following Baxter’s death in October 1972, McCahon painted a small canvas and sent it to his goddaughter, Baxter’s daughter Hilary. In this painting, <EM>Jim passes the northern beaches</EM>, McCahon suggests that Baxter’s soul has followed the same path M&#257;ori spirits travel north to Cape Reinga before returning to their homeland Hawaiki. Like McCahon, Baxter wrestled with Christianity and shared an interest in M&#257;ori spirituality. The painting charts the journey from this world to the next, a subject later explored in the ‘Walk’ series. </P> <P data-associrn="1423415"></P> <P><STRONG>A new way of thinking about painting</STRONG></P> <P>The painting was, as McCahon explained, also a breakthrough for him artistically: ‘When I painted the small painting for Hilary Baxter I opened up a new way of thinking about painting I’d been working on for a long time. I’ve hardly painted for 3 months now. I’m doing a big rethink on all sorts of things. I’ve been walking &amp; looking. Not, really, not working.’<SUP><FONT size=2>4</FONT></SUP></P> <P>The results of this rethink were the ‘Walk’ paintings and a series of drawings titled ‘Jet Out from Muriwai’, where the spiritual connections between the landscape, Christian symbolism, and M&#257;ori spirituality are powerfully brought together. The ‘Walk’ series consists of four multi-part works &#8211; or four series &#8211; A, B, C, and D. <EM>Walk (Series A)</EM> and <EM>Walk (Series B)</EM> were exhibited at the Barry Lett Gallery in Auckland in August, along with the suite of ‘Jet Out from Muriwai’ drawings. Describing this exhibition to a friend, McCahon wrote that: ‘The Lett Gallery looks cold as the grave, but beautiful. I was talking about J.K.B. and not feeling like Spring Time Coming.’<SUP><FONT size=2>5</FONT></SUP> <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> and <EM>Walk (Series D)</EM> were exhibited at the Peter McLeavey Gallery in September 1973. </P> <P data-associrn="1423418"></P> <P data-associrn="1423419"></P> <P><STRONG>‘Bits of a place I love’</P></STRONG> <P>McCahon’s choice of setting for the ‘Walk’ series is laden with meaning, both personal and cultural. Writing to McLeavey about his upcoming exhibition he pointed out that: ‘People should know perhaps that I don’t regard these canvases as “paintings”, they shouldn’t be enclosed in frames, they are just bits of a place I love and painted in memory of a friend who now &#8211; in spirit &#8211; has walked this same beach’.<SUP><FONT size=2>6</FONT></SUP></P> <P>Towards the end of the 1960s, McCahon had increasingly worked at his studio on a cliff out at Muriwai Beach. This purpose-built studio allowed him to embark on much larger painting projects and was also where he produced some of his greatest works. He was deeply affected by these surroundings and this is reflected in several bodies of work including the ‘Walk’ and ‘Necessary Protection’ series. </P> <P>Muriwai, located on the west coast, is a point on the journey of spirits along the northern beaches to Cape Reinga. McCahon found this landscape ‘wild and beautiful; empty and utterly beautiful. This is after all the coast the Maori souls pass over on their way from life to death . . . The light and sunsets here are appropriately magnificent.’<SUP><FONT size=2>7</FONT></SUP> McCahon makes the metaphysical journey visible in his works in various ways, sometimes as an aeroplane flying across the sky, or as a comet, as a bird in flight, or through a series of dotted lines. <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> picks up the idea of Baxter following the path of M&#257;ori spirits explored in <EM>Jim passes the northern beaches</EM>, but now connects that journey with the Christian journey.<SUP><FONT size=2>8</FONT></SUP> For McCahon ‘the Christian “walk” &amp; the Maori “walk” have a lot in common’.<SUP><FONT size=2>9</FONT></SUP> He once stated: ‘I accept him [Baxter] as a new M&#257;ori who will then walk the beach to Te Reinga &amp; I put the barriers of the stations in his way.’<SUP><FONT size=2>10</FONT></SUP></P> <P><STRONG>‘Signs and symbols to live by’</P></STRONG> <P>The numerals inscribed at the bottom of the panels of <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> refer to the Stations of the Cross, a 14-part journey following Christ’s final steps towards his crucifixion. McCahon had been setting biblical stories within the New Zealand landscape since the 1940s and a remarkable collection of these works is currently on show in ‘Emblems of identity’, as part of <EM>Ng&#257; Toi </EM>| <EM>Arts Te Papa</EM>. He started working with the symbolism of the Stations of the Cross in 1952, and it was to become a recurring feature of his works in the 1960s and 1970s &#8211; just as Baxter was increasingly exploring his own faith. </P> <P>In 1965 McCahon was asked to create clerestory windows for a chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Upland Road, Remuera, Auckland. McCahon’s designs incorporated Christian symbols, text, and abstracted landscape elements. The windows were positioned in a continuous frieze around the top of the chapel’s four walls and, thus, physically enveloped the worshippers. McCahon was also commissioned to create a painting for the chapel titled <EM>The Way of the Cross</EM>, 1966, which charted the Stations of the Cross across an undulating landscape.<SUP><FONT size=2>11</FONT></SUP> Along with <EM>The Fourteen Stations of the Cross</EM>, 1966, this work shows further evidence of the artist’s pre-occupation with exploring the symbolism of the stations in relationship to different environments &#8211; both physical and metaphorical.&nbsp;</P> <P>Five years later he received another architectural commission &#8211; this time to design the windows of a Catholic church at Te Puke in 1970. In a letter to Peter McLeavey he commented that the ‘Walk’ paintings could be used in a church, although he recognised that ‘it would be a most adventurous one to use them’.<SUP><FONT size=2>12</FONT></SUP> </P> <P><STRONG>Creating environments</P></STRONG> <P data-associrn="38664"></P> <P>Like his architectural commissions, McCahon’s paintings were often conceived in emphatically spatial terms. He is frequently quoted as saying that he wanted to create paintings ‘to walk past’, an idea that he developed following a study trip to the United States in 1958. On his return to Auckland later that year he created the momentous <EM>Northland panels</EM>, and the 16-part work <EM>The wake</EM>, which he described as ‘an environment for a poetry reading by [John] Caselberg’.<SUP><FONT size=2>13</FONT></SUP> McCahon used the word ‘environment’ again to describe the installation of his ‘Landscape theme and variations’ paintings from the early 1960s &#8211; they were painted, he wrote, ‘to fill the Ikon Gallery, Symonds Street, Auckland, to make a true New Zealand environment’.<SUP><FONT size=2>14</FONT></SUP></P> <BLOCKQUOTE style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px" dir=ltr><P>I hoped to throw people into an involvement with the raw land, and also with raw painting. No mounts, no frames, a bit curly at the edges, but with, I hoped, more than the usual New Zealand landscape meaning. You can’t see them now in their intended setting. I hope you can understand what I was trying to do at the time &#8211; like spitting on the clay to open the blind man’s eyes.<SUP><FONT size=2>15</FONT></SUP> </P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P>At times this three-dimensional or installation approach to displaying work was by design, and at other times it was a practical reality of exhibiting large works in small spaces, such as the Peter McLeavey Gallery.</P> <P>McCahon had ambitious plans for his upcoming exhibition at Peter McLeavey Gallery in July 1973: ‘I might turn up with a 96 yard canvas soon &#8211; twice around your gallery &amp; up the walls to the roof. It won’t be like that. I wish it could, &amp; will return to it sometime. I saw the direction over the weekend and being of little faith turned it down: now I know I was right in my forty days in the wilderness &#8211; we must have a place to wander &#8211; to find the narrow path. Please send me your gallery wall sizes &#8211; a wee plan. I have no intention to embarrass you with an impossible monster.’<SUP><FONT size=2>16</FONT></SUP> The exhibition finally included <EM>Walk (Series C)</EM> and <EM>Walk (Series D)</EM> installed across the gallery’s two rooms.</P> <P><STRONG>Setting the scene</P></STRONG> <P>Art historian Tony Green has previously remarked on the short distance from McCahon’s large-scale paintings arranged in galleries as installations to his lesser known work as a stage designer. ‘The beholder,’ he wrote, ‘comes in off the street to find that there is a scene set, so to speak; something that hides the bare space, turning it instead into an imaginary elsewhere.’<SUP><FONT size=2>17</FONT></SUP> </P> <P>In addition to the ‘Walk’ series, McCahon responded to Baxter’s legacy in another, almost simultaneous project &#8211; creating the stage designs for the James K. Baxter Festival in Wellington. Early in 1973 McCahon had been approached to design the sets for four Baxter plays to be presented later that year at the Memorial Theatre at Victoria University in Wellington. The four plays included <EM>The Band Rotunda</EM>, <EM>The Temptations of Oedipus</EM>, <EM>The Sore-footed Man</EM>, and <EM>The Devil and Mr Mulcahy</EM>. In addition to the stage sets, McCahon also designed a poster and the cover of the programme.</P> <P data-associrn="192939"></P> <P>This commission is not as unlikely as it may first seem; McCahon had in fact been designing stage sets since the late 1930s when he was at art school in Dunedin, and he also produced exhibition and graphic design work. With director Christopher Cathcart and writer Frank Sargeson, McCahon was a key member of Auckland’s New Independent Theatre group, which staged various productions within the galleries at the Auckland City Art Gallery throughout the 1960s, often with a minimal set designed by McCahon. This aspect of his practice has been little documented until recently.<SUP><FONT size=2>18</FONT></SUP></P> <P data-associrn="43727"></P> <P><STRONG>Beautiful effects from meagre materials.</P></STRONG> <P>McCahon’s most successful stage designs were produced as a result of a close working relationship with the others involved, especially the producers. Remembering McCahon and Rodney Kennedy’s stage design for <EM>The Insect Play</EM> in Dunedin in 1938, a friend Ron O’Reilly recalled being impressed by: ‘The directness and fresh unconventionality with which they went about it, contriving powerful and beautiful effects from meagre materials.’<SUP><FONT size=2>19</FONT></SUP></P> <P>Unlike these earlier projects, which had arisen out of a close collaboration with producers and other people involved in the plays, the Baxter project was done remotely, with McCahon writing to the Festival’s production secretary Pat Hawthorne and the individual directors of the four plays. In one letter, McCahon expresses surprise that it has been possible to work in this way.<SUP><FONT size=2>20</FONT></SUP></P> <P>On 14 March 1973 McCahon wrote to Peter McLeavey: ‘The more I’ve read the plays the better they become. I am most impressed and want more &amp; more to make a setting as simple as the words, &amp; basic ideas of the plays. Arena production is the answer, my final design gets nearest to that. I’m stuck now after reading &amp; drawing until the whole thing is talked out. I’m putting the books away.’<SUP><FONT size=2>21</FONT></SUP></P> <P data-associrn="1423420"></P> <P><STRONG>‘Space and light, &amp; obstructions’</P></STRONG> <P>Updating Pat Hawthorne on his progress, McCahon wrote: </P> <BLOCKQUOTE style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px" dir=ltr><P>I want to keep the style very shallow where the action is (and for the stage too) and poke very large holes into the space beyond, a great clear space &amp; light. All the settings are I feel in the Baxter style, space and light, &amp; obstructions. The first drawings are a bit Mickey Mouse &#8211; or little golden book to be suitable.</P> <P>This is now it for me. It’s largely to be created on the stage &#8211; at the time . . . I’ve not talked to your directors yet &#8211; but have been working on my own ‘thing’ on the plays. We should have fun.<SUP><FONT size=2>22</FONT></SUP> </P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P>Several weeks later, he wrote to Malcolm Ross: ‘I set the four and still have to do battle with the four directors. I may not be allowed to get away with the nakedness I feel essential. I’ll fight for it’.<SUP><FONT size=2>23</FONT></SUP></P> <P>The ‘nakedness’ that McCahon mentioned was the minimal, pared back approach that he had decided best suited the four plays. The backdrops featured panels of abstracted landscape elements &#8211; an approach not dissimilar to McCahon’s earlier ‘Landscape theme and variations’ paintings and <EM>Walk (Series C).</EM></P> <P>As things turned out, several of the directors disagreed with McCahon’s preference for a single stage design for the four plays with only different props and costumes to distinguish them. Six years later he remained bitterly disappointed with the final outcome. As he recounted in an interview with Gordon H Brown: ‘It was a horrifying experience: absolutely dreadful. I was asked to set the plays, really design the production, and when it came to the point . . . they all decided themselves exactly how it was going to be done before I ever got able to talk, to discuss it. I had written to them, and with it sent all copies of the designs, and there’d be one set throughout, and this they found extremely uncomfortable.’<SUP><FONT size=2>24</FONT></SUP></P> <P>McCahon’s correspondence with Pat Hawthorne suggests that his disappointment was due less to being personally affronted, than feeling strongly that Baxter’s plays had been misinterpreted. ‘I was disappointed that all but one of your directors were scared of an open stage. When [Patric] Carey used it as intended I jumped for joy and was in some way rewarded. But all of your plays should have been in the same style rather than being returned to conventional theatre. Baxter does not write that way. He uses an “opening up” process &#8211; and black drapes don’t help that.’<SUP><FONT size=2>25</FONT></SUP></P> <P>While much of McCahon’s work as a stage designer had been a satisfying creative experience, his work on the Baxter Festival was a reminder of the pitfalls and challenges of working with other people. The ‘Walk’ paintings, by comparison, offered McCahon much greater freedom to explore and respond to Baxter in his own, unmediated way. In the following years, he became less involved in stage design, and dedicated himself to pursuing his individual painting practice.</P> <P data-associrn="1423438"></P> <P><STRONG>‘A candle in a dark room’<SUP><FONT size=2>26</FONT></SUP></P></STRONG> <P>Although he is celebrated primarily for his paintings, McCahon actively maintained a wider artistic practice that encompassed exhibition, stage, and graphic design &#8211; as his work relating to Baxter amply demonstrates.</P> <P>A year before painting <EM>Walk (Series C),</EM> McCahon wrote a series of comments on his past work to accompany the survey exhibition of his work at the Auckland City Art Gallery. He remarked that: ‘In this present time it is very difficult to paint for other people &#8211; to paint beyond your own ends and to point directions as painters once did. Once a painter was making signs and symbols to live by: now he makes things to hang on walls at exhibitions.’<SUP><FONT size=2>27</FONT></SUP></P> <P>McCahon, like Baxter, was committed to creating art that mattered: that asked fundamental questions about life, death, spirituality and the human experience. I can’t help but think that these days in New Zealand’s increasingly secular society, exhibitions can at times provide a rare moment to reflect and consider what matters most. This is surely an opportunity to be savoured; it has the potential for illumination as powerful as bringing a candle into a dark room.</P> <P>***</P> <P>In memory of William McAloon.</P> <P>With thanks to Neil McGrath, Peter McLeavey, Matthew O’Reilly, Natalie Poland, and Jill Trevelyan. Thank you also to the staff at the Hocken Collections, University of Otago; Fiona Gray at the Alexander Turnbull Library; Catherine Hammond at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki; Victoria Boyack, James Brown, and Kate Button at Te Papa. </P> <P><STRONG>Additional resources on Colin McCahon’s relationship with James K. Baxter</P></STRONG> <P>Peter Simpson, <EM>Candles in a Dark Room</EM>, exhibition catalogue, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 1995.<BR>Peter Simpson, ‘Candles in a dark room: James K. Baxter and Colin McCahon’, J<EM>ournal of New Zealand Literature</EM>, no. 13, 1995, pp.157-88.</P> <P><STRONG><FONT size=2>Endnotes</FONT></STRONG></P> <OL> <LI><FONT size=2>This is an extract from Colin McCahon’s well-known quote: ‘Once the painter was making signs and symbols for people to live by: now he makes things to hang on walls at exhibitions.’ Colin McCahon, <EM>Colin McCahon: A survey exhibition</EM>, exhibition catalogue, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, 1972, p. 26.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>Colin McCahon, letter to Gordon H Brown, August 1973, quoted in Gordon H Brown, <EM>Colin McCahon: Artist</EM>, Reed, Auckland, 1984, p.174.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Malcolm Ross, 27 March 1973. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, Dunedin. Reproduced in Peter Simpson, <EM>Candles in a Dark Room</EM>, exhibition catalogue, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T&#257;maki, Auckland, 1995, p. 14.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 30 March 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery archives.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Gordon H Brown, August 1973.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 16 August 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery archives.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in Brown, <EM>Colin McCahon: Artist</EM>, p.109.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>This association of Christian and M&#257;ori spirituality is further explored, and perhaps finds its ultimate resolution in the 1974 work <EM>Te Tangi o Te Pipiwhararua (The Song of the Shining Cuckoo, a poem by Tangirau Hotere)</EM>, which features the text of a M&#257;ori lament shared with McCahon by his friend, the artist Ralph Hotere.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 16 August 1973.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in Brown, <EM>Colin McCahon: Artist</EM>, p. 174.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>Unfortunately, when the chapel was deconsecrated the windows and McCahon’s commissioned painting <EM>The Way of the Cross</EM> (1966) were removed. These works entered the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki in 1989.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 16 August 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery archives.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in <EM>Colin McCahon: A survey exhibition</EM>, p. 26.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in <EM>Colin McCahon: A survey exhibition</EM>, p. 30.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>Ibid, p.30.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 2 July 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery archives.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>Tony Green, ‘McCahon and the modern’, in Michael Gifkins (ed.), <EM>Colin McCahon: Gates and journeys</EM>, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, 1988, p. 37.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>Gordon H Brown’s 2010 publication, <EM>Towards a Promised Land: On the life and art of Colin McCahon</EM>, includes an illuminating chapter on ‘Colin McCahon and the theatre’. Along with Natalie Poland’s introductory essay for the Hocken Gallery exhibition catalogue <EM>Fine Folk: design work by Colin McCahon</EM>, 2009, the two texts give an overview of McCahon’s work as a stage designer and his other design projects.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in <EM>Colin McCahon: A survey exhibition</EM>, p. 7.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>‘I’ve never before designed plays by letter - it’s too tough - I’d never thought it possible. It does seem it is.’ McCahon, letter to Pat Hawthorne, 10 May 1973, MS-Papers-2369, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Peter McLeavey, 14 March 1973, Peter McLeavey Gallery archives.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, unpublished note (possibly a draft letter to Pat Hawthorne), 12 March 1972, Misc-MS-0517/001, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago. Dunedin.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Malcolm Ross, 27 March 1973.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, interview with Gordon H Brown, 1979, quoted in Brown, <EM>Towards a Promised Land: On the life and art of Colin McCahon</EM>, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2010, p. 83. </FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, letter to Pat Hawthorne, 22 June 1973, MS-Papers-2369, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>This refers to the title of a painting by McCahon from 1943 and painted after McCahon’s first encounter with Baxter. Colin McCahon, <EM>A Candle in a Dark Room</EM>, 1943, oil on board. McCahon Family Collection.</FONT></LI> <LI><FONT size=2>McCahon, quoted in <EM>Colin McCahon: A survey exhibition</EM>, p. 26.</FONT></LI></OL>
image

Colin McCahon, Scared, 1976, acrylic on paper,
Purchased 2008.
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

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Ans Westra, James K Baxter's tangi, Jerusalem, Wanganui, 25 October 1972, 25 October 1972, black and white photograph, gelatin silver print,
Purchased 1993 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds.
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

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Colin McCahon, Walk (Series C), 1973, acrylic on hessian,
Purchased 2004.
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

Colin McCahon, &lt;EM&gt;Jim passes the northern beaches&lt;/EM&gt;, 1972, acrylic on hessian. Private collection. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust. Photograph courtesy Peter McLeavey Gallery.

Colin McCahon, Jim passes the northern beaches, 1972, acrylic on hessian. Private collection. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust. Photograph courtesy Peter McLeavey Gallery.

&lt;EM&gt;Walk (series C)&lt;/EM&gt; installed in the &lt;EM&gt;Colin McCahon: Recent works&lt;/EM&gt; exhibition, Peter McLeavey Gallery, 11–28 September 1973. Photograph by Peter McLeavey. Courtesy of the Peter McLeavey Gallery archive. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Walk (series C) installed in the Colin McCahon: Recent works exhibition, Peter McLeavey Gallery, 11–28 September 1973. Photograph by Peter McLeavey. Courtesy of the Peter McLeavey Gallery archive. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

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Colin McCahon, Northland panels, 1958, alkyd on unstretched canvas,
Purchased 1978 with Ellen Eames Collection funds and assistance from the New Zealand Lottery Board.
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

&lt;EM&gt;Walk (series C)&lt;/EM&gt; installed in the &lt;EM&gt;Colin McCahon: Recent works&lt;/EM&gt; exhibition, Peter McLeavey Gallery, 11–28 September 1973. Photograph by Peter McLeavey. Courtesy of the Peter McLeavey Gallery archive. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Walk (series C) installed in the Colin McCahon: Recent works exhibition, Peter McLeavey Gallery, 11–28 September 1973. Photograph by Peter McLeavey. Courtesy of the Peter McLeavey Gallery archive. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

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Colin McCahon, Poster for 'James K. Baxter Festival 1973: Four Plays', 1973, lithograph
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

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Colin McCahon, Programme for 'James K Baxter Festival: 1973: Four Plays', 1973, ink on paper
© Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust
Full object info is available on collections.tepapa.govt.nz

Colin McCahon, stage design ‘Baxter 18’ for the ‘James K. Baxter Festival 1973: Four Plays’, 1973, pencil on paper. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago (Misc-MS-0517/002). Reproduced with the kind permission of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Colin McCahon, stage design ‘Baxter 18’ for the ‘James K. Baxter Festival 1973: Four Plays’, 1973, pencil on paper. Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago (Misc-MS-0517/002). Reproduced with the kind permission of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.

Colin McCahon, &lt;EM&gt;A Candle in a dark room&lt;/EM&gt;, 1947, oil on board, 380 x 310 mm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T&amp;#257;maki L1998/28/99, on loan from a private collection. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust.
Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T&amp;#257;maki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Colin McCahon, A Candle in a dark room, 1947, oil on board, 380 x 310 mm. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki L1998/28/99, on loan from a private collection. Reproduced courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust. Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.