Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith

This is the catalogue for an exhibition of art by New Zealand painter Colin McCahon, held in a gallery in Amsterdam in 2002.

questionA group of essays by art historians, curators and McCahon’s son William, accompany illustrations of dozens of McCahon’s paintings.
McCahon’s work combined the NZ landscape, Maori lore with biblical and poetic texts, often in a limited pallet.

The closing section presents a year by year “biography” of the artists life and work, attempting to place it (and its influence) into the context of other New Zealand painting.

A more apt title to the book could be A Confusion of Faith.
McCahon’s use of biblical text in his paintings seems to puzzle most people, who tend to project their own biases into their understanding of his work, and perhaps reveal the extent to which human artistic creativity becomes a religion substitute for many. A religious leaning with its own “prophets” and teachers, presenting a sacred lore and esoteric ruminations that idealise art, literature and other cultural pursuits.

VOD2Victory Over Death 2. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
See more, including a video about the painting here: Victory Over Death 2