Colin McCahon

Visible Mysteries no. 8

Visible Mysteries no. 8 by Colin McCahon

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On a black background a white heart, a symbol of love and sacrifice, floats above a horizontal form suggesting an altar; beneath it a koru shape. Unlike the other works in the series, the altar is curved with no base or sides, its atmospheric paint work suggesting a sky to the rounded land form of the black background. The inclusion of the blood red or kokowai koru is also unique, inviting a range of interpretations. It can be read as Christ’s blood; the blood spilt when Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earthmother) were separated by Tanemahuta, or the life force of the land. (McCahon's Visible Mysteries, 2004)

Visible Mysteries no. 8
Production date
acrylic on board
1245 x 631 x 45 mm
primary: signed & dated l.r.cnr., oil, "Colin McCahon/ Sept.68.". also signed & dated reverse u.c., oil, "Colin/ McCahon/ Sept '68/ Visible Mysteries/ no.8". secondary: see primary. numbered l.r.cnr., oil, "NO.8".
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1986
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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