15 Drawings Dec '51 to May '52

15 Drawings Dec '51 to May '52 (cover page). Dated 1959 and inscribed for Charles Brasch from Colin McCahon on first page in lithography. Published for the Hocken Library, 1967. 24-page book of lithographic prints, bound with two hand tied fabric loops, 275 x 207mm. Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust. 

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Cora-Allan Wickliffe, experiments and research, 2020, ink, bead, and hiapo

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Cora-Allan Wickliffe, experiments and research, 2020, ink, bead, and hiapo

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15 Drawings Dec '51 to May '52 (internal page). Dated 1959 and inscribed for Charles Brasch from Colin McCahon on first page in lithography. Published for the Hocken Library, 1967. 24-page book of lithographic prints, bound with two hand tied fabric loops, 275 x 207mm.Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hākena, courtesy McCahon Research and Publication Trust 

Cora-Allan Wickliffe

Artist and Curator
Artist books and thoughts during lockdown 

I am writing this during the COVID-19 lockdown that started on March 25th, 2020. 

Before we went into lockdown I was having a discussion about possibly curating an exhibition of Pacific art in Germany and was gifted an accordion visual diary to begin thinking about what might transpire. This has been the most stimulating of gifts; pushing my brain into overdrive as I begin researching the idea of an artist book, and how to begin my own. If you want to see an impressive array of artist books the Smithsonian Museum has an online collection that shows how truly intricate these book-like structures can be.

When I lived in Banff, Canada (2014) I left behind some wooden sculptures that looked like books. An intern at the Banff Arts Centre Library found a few and asked if these could be added to their collection of artist books. I was first stunned that someone had found these, and then I was honoured; this library has developed a beautiful and intimate collection from artists attending residency over the 22 years it has been running; and now I am one of them. 

I began this task searching for McCahon works that were for sale; scouting for something that I might ‘imaginary’ buy. I then came across 15 Drawings Dec’51 to May ’52, a book of bound lithography prints that reminded me of my new found obsession with artist books. 

As I searched the web for images I was surprised to find portraits. Not sure why but in my head I was imagining documentation of the whenua in artist book form by McCahon. 

This bound collection of works is the only artist book produced by McCahon I have been able to find through brief research. It is seemingly another experimental exercise within his wide and vast practice. However, I do imagine shelves of larger-than-life artist books by McCahon that mimic the way his paintings fill up walls and dominate the gallery space.

UK based artist John Walter is currently a part of the group exhibition Queer Algorithms at Gus Fisher gallery. His large sketchbooks are the seeds of projects where he explores through impressive mixed media illustrations. The bright and energetic pages of his diaries move into installations that claim space much like the work of McCahon. 15 Drawings is a large scale book that makes me think of that translation from book to wall and just how work is read in book form compared to on the gallery wall.  

I think during this time of lockdown social media has become an artist book for many. Sculpting posts and your online presence can be seen as a digital form of presenting yourself, and considered this in time as a work in itself.

The fact that I came to the conclusion of picking this particular work by McCahon is not surprising but also seemed like something I could connect to during this strange time. Throughout the duration of the lockdown I will continue to construct my own artist book with the thoughts I have mentioned in this small read and hope to find more artist book treasures by other memorable New Zealand artists. 

CONNECTING CULTURAL LEGACY WITH CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE

Index
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Artwork image/svg+xml Group Copy 2 Group Copy 2 Created with Sketch.
Robert Gardiner
Are there not twelve hours of daylight
Thomas Crow
Are there not twelve hours of daylight
Jude Rae
Victory over death 2
Brent Harris
The Family
Cora-Allan Wickliffe
15 Drawings Dec '51 to May '52
Salome Tanuvasa
Landscape
Yona Lee
Landscape theme and variations (series B)
David Kirk
Kaipara
Priscilla Pitts
Fourteen Stations of the Cross
Ruth Watson
This day a man is
Tessa Laird
Keep New Zealand Green
Nell
East window
Nicola Farquhar
Kauri trees
Hon Grant Robertson
Otago Peninsula
Jane Macknight
Untitled (North Otago Landscape)
Karen Walker
Titirangi
Wystan Curnow
The Green Plain
Philip Clarke
Necessary Protection (IHS)
Mary Kisler
A candle in a dark room
Ayesha Green
I AM
Matthew O'Reilly
Muriwai
Bettina Bradbury and Kararaina Rangihau
A poster for the Urewera no. 2
Al Keating
A Grain of wheat
Cushla Dillon
Entombment (after Titian)
Hamish Coney
Here I give thanks to Mondrian
Stephen Wainwright
As there is a constant flow of light we are born into the pure land
Sue Gardiner
Landscape theme and variations (series A)
Robert Leonard
Numerals
Judy Darragh
Clouds 1
John Coley
AS THERE IS A CONSTANT FLOW OF LIGHT WE ARE BORN INTO THE PURE LAND
Shannon Te Ao
Ka pōraruraru ahau. I am troubled.
Helen Beaglehole
GATE III
Ralph Paine
Jump E9
Judy Millar
Muriwai: Necessary Protection
Fiona Pardington
Waterfall
C.K. Stead
All mortals are like grass
Gretchen Albrecht
As there is a constant flow of light we are born into the pure land
Martin Edmond
Cross (1959)
Lisa Reihana
Urewera mural
Peter Simpson
Jet out to Te Reinga
Christina Barton
Gate III
Dame Jenny Gibbs
I Considered All the Acts of Oppression
Zoe Black
Ruby Bay
Jim Barr and Mary Barr
Oaia and clouds
Vivienne Stone
Tomorrow will be the same but not as this is
Kate Sylvester
Northland Panels