Shane Cotton: The Hanging Sky

Justin Paton, Eliot Weinberger, Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Robert Leonard
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ISBN: 978-1-877375-25-5

Hard cover book

A spectacular book on one of New Zealand’s most sought-after artists.

For two decades Shane Cotton has been one of New Zealand’s most celebrated painters. The Hanging Sky presents his complex and provocative skyscapes—vast, nocturnal spaces where birds speed and plummet.

Read four distinctive responses to the assembled works: Eliot Weinberger offers a poetic meditation on what he calls ‘the ghosts of birds’ in Cotton’s paintings. Justin Paton plots his own encounters with Cotton across six years in which the artist was constantly ‘finding space’. Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow confronts the haunting role of Toi moko—tattooed Māori heads—in the paintings and in her own past. And Robert Leonard argues the case for Cotton as a cultural surrealist exploring ‘the treachery of images’.

Presented on a grand scale, this covetable book is designed by award-winning designer Aaron Beehre and features seventy-two large colour plates, a foil-stamped cloth cover and blue page edges.

This book was made possible with the support of Nicola Best and Greg Bloomer, Garth and Lisa Gallaway, Aloysius and Eileen Teh, and Anthony Wright and Selene Manning. Published with the assistance of Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand and the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery, and in association with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.

Author: Justin Paton, Eliot Weinberger, Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow, Robert Leonard

Features: foil-stamped cloth cover with blue page edges

Pages: 192

Dimensions: 300 x 400mm

Imprint: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū


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Dust, Smoke and Rainbows
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Partway through the development of The Hanging Sky, Christchurch Art Gallery’s touring survey of Shane Cotton’s work, Cotton told curator Justin Paton that he wanted to donate a new work, Dust, Smoke and Rainbows, to the Gallery in honour of the way Christchurch had faced the challenges presented by the earthquakes and in recognition of the Gallery’s continued commitment to his exhibition, despite circumstances that could easily have derailed it. Here, Cotton transports a Māori modernist sculpture forward in time and space, allowing it to re-materialise in a context that crackles with supernatural energy. Part-ruin, part-redemptive vision, this halfway space is alive with omens; charged with the echoes of the recent and distant past and full of anticipation at events to come.

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