“In my empty existence I have seen it all”: On Colin McCahon’s last paintings

Rex Butler, Laurence Simmons

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In this essay, the authors consider Colin McCahon’s so-called Last Paintings, the series of four paintings found in his studio after his death. The status of these works has always been ambiguous. Were they actually completed by McCahon or left abandoned? Are the artistic effects found within them intentional or merely the effect of chance? Against most readings of McCahon, which decide one way or another, the authors try to keep both options open. They attempt to show how this might work with regard to the painting understood to be McCahon’s very last, I considered all the acts of oppression (1981).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-127
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of New Zealand Studies
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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