The exhibition A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland opens on 10 August, coinciding with the centenary of Colin McCahon’s birth in August 1919. McCahon arrived in Auckland in the early 1950s to work at Auckland Art Gallery. This move and his new role started an energetic period for the artist during which he balanced a successful working life with an increasingly productive time as an artist.
The exhibition’s focus lies in the significance of Auckland City on McCahon’s development as an artist and its presence in his painting. In the accompanying lecture series McCahon: Artist, Curator, Spouse, prominent guest speakers will unpack lesser-known stories about McCahon’s life and practice.
Lecture 2, Sun 29 Sep, 10.30am–12.30pm
Alexa Johnston and Annette McKone – Upland Road Convent Chapel Painted Windows
In 1965 and 1966, Colin McCahon painted a series of multi-panel windows for the Upland Road Convent chapel in Remuera. This commission was an opportunity to share his interest in and questions about faith with a new audience. In 1989 the windows were gifted to Auckland Art Gallery, albeit in a fragile state. In preparation for the McCahon Centenary exhibition, the windows have been restored by the Gallery’s conservators.
In this lecture, former gallery curator Alexa Johnston will talk about the Upland Road Convent chapel painted windows and McCahon’s interest in Christian signs and symbols, and objects conservator Annette McKone will take you through the intricate conservation process of these works.
About the speakers
Alexa Johnston is a writer, independent curator and historian. After working at Auckland Art Gallery as a curator for nineteen years, she curated the exhibition Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond for Auckland War Memorial Museum in 2002. This was followed by the publication of her first book, Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life, which was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards. Alexa has published a number of books celebrating New Zealand's culinary history including Ladies, a Plate.
Alexa wrote about Colin McCahon's interest in religious thinking and imagery for the catalogue of Auckland Art Gallery's 1988 exhibition Colin McCahon: Gates and Journeys and has contributed to the catalogue of the current exhibition of the Upland Road Chapel windows.
Annette McKone was appointed in 2010 as Auckland Art Gallery’s first Objects Conservator, and is responsible for our growing collection of sculpture and installations. Together with 2018 Marylyn Mayo intern Eleanor Vallier, Annette has done extensive work to preserve and as far as possible restore McCahon’s painted glass windows from the former Convent in Upland Road, Remuera (Chapel of the Sisters of our Lady of the Missions).
Please refer to our events page for information about the additional lectures and the guest speakers that feature within this series.
A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland, (installation view), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2019
- Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium
- $37 for Members and $47 for non-Members.