From 2 February 2001 the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will display for
the first time its most recent major acquisition of 20th century
international art: One, a 1965 painting by acclaimed New Zealand artist
Colin McCahon. Colin McCahon is internationally celebrated as one of the most significant
New Zealand artists of the 20th century. In an outstanding career that
spanned four decades, McCahon was perhaps best known for his landscapes and
word and number paintings.
The NGV holds a major six panel work on paper produced in 1979 by McCahon,
and the acquisition of an important early work by McCahon has been a
collection priority of the NGV for several years. Acquired in 1999, One is
a painting that is small in scale but monumental in impact, which forcefully
conveys McCahon's aesthetic and conceptual concerns.
The NGV's Department of Contemporary Art is presenting an in-focus display
to celebrate the acquisition of One. The exhibition Colin McCahon: A time
for messages has been organised around six works from the late phase of
McCahon's career that, with one exception, incorporate the text and
iconography for which McCahon is perhaps most popularly known.
Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGV, Mr Jason Smith, said, McCahon's
works are amongst the most visually powerful and spiritually enriching
paintings of the 20th century. His importance and influence continue to be
acknowledged by a growing international audience. One is a very exciting
acquisition and is a springboard for the NGV's move into the modern and
contemporary art of New Zealand
Due to the enduring impact of McCahon's work on the art and critical
thinking of his contemporaries and a younger generation of New Zealand and
Australian artists, this exhibition integrates the works of several artists
for whom McCahon's art have been influential. These artists include Shane
Cotton, Rosalie Gascoigne, Brent Harris, Kitty Kantilla, Emily Kam
Kngwarray, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Robert MacPherson, David Stephenson, Imants
Tillers, and Judy Watson.
McCahon's expressive and idiosyncratic visual vocabulary was drawn from a
vast range of literary and religious sources, experiences, interactions and
situations. The works in Colin McCahon: A time for messages concentrate on
the artist's powerful project to communicate his unique vision.
synthetic polymer paint and
polyvinyl acetate on composition board
60.7 x 60.7 cm
The Art Foundation of Victoria
with the assistance of
Mr Robert Raynor AM, Honorary Life Benefactor, 1999