Webb’s is proud to offer ‘Visible Mysteries No. 4’ by Colin McCahon in the forthcoming auction of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art to be held on 7 August. Acquired by artists, Pat and Gil Hanly in 1968 from Barry Lett Gallery, this work is unquestionably one of the most significant by McCahon to have been presented at auction.
‘Grant that what we have received in visible mysteries we may receive in its invisible effect’
Visible Mysteries No. 4 represents the pinnacle of Colin McCahon’s engagement with, and employment of, the language and iconography of Catholicism. This work is bold, resonant and finely resolved. Of the series, No. 4 is the richest in colour, imagery and connotations.
At its essence, it speaks to the realisation of a shift in McCahon’s practice: from the pursuit of spirituality and expression through the land, to the embracing of painting as a feat of transcendent, abstracted divinity.
Assuming the role of both creator and priest, McCahon provides form to that which “we may receive in its invisible effect”. In partaking of this work, therefore, we as viewers are invited to enter into the mysteries of a reformed Eucharistic ritual.
The luminescent form at the centre of the work is the embodiment of many: all at once, it is the Sacred Heart and a lunar beacon within an abstracted landscape; the physical body of Christ with blood pouring out of its side and the Eucharistic wafer suspended at the moment of consecration. The form of the altar grounds the painting both literally and figuratively, and brings to mind the lettering of McCahon’s earlier works.
Entries are now invited to sit alongside this important painting in a luxury winter catalogue of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art.
Auction: 7 August 2017