Colin McCahon

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Friday 30 September 2011
Ron Brownson


I have read Martin Edmond’s recent book Dark Night: Walking with McCahon again. It is an impressive book for two reasons – it is wonderfully personal and almost autobiographical in its take on McCahon’s life and work. It also reads like a parable paralleling the Stations of the Cross as a subject that McCahon thought much about over decades.

McCahon’s own voice is included and the selection of his comments affirms that he could really express his vision with words. You know that saying of his from 1972: I will need words. If you ever get to hear a recording of McCahon speaking you immediately understand that he was uber-articulate.

I reproduce the cover of Martin’s book because it includes a previously unknown image by Marti Friedlander of Colin’s studio. It is a portrait of the artist in absentia.

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon happened because of support from the Australia Council. Thanks to them for assisting a New Zealand writer to write about an artist who has one of their finest works in the National Gallery of Australia as a gift from the people of New Zealand: Victory over Death.