13 Octopuses

Rich McCoy
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The Antidote

The First Antidote The Fifth Antidote The Fourth Antidote The Third Antidote The Second Antidote

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Standing on the beach not far from my New Zealand home, staring out to sea with a 120mm camera in my hand creating the 'In dreams, I walk with You' photos and thoughts in my mind that there was not another stretch of land between where I stood and the South Pole. I was struck by the brutal and beautiful, binary, simplicity of sky & sea, nothing else just subtle tone and gradient. This stayed bouncing around my mind for some time, sometimes coming to the fore every now and again but it wasn't until the large earthquakes that his Wellington in the tail end of 2016 and subsequent night spent with my young family in a school playground above the Tsunami line that the need to realise these paintings became overwhelming.

When searching for a surface to create these seascape paintings on, the poetry of painting them on some of the maps I had left over from the 'We were never born to follow' paintings was too much to resist. The folds and creases of the maps, the playfulness of painting a brutally reduced seascape on the top of a painfully precise detailed illustration of land that had subsequently changed over the passing of time.

They still lacked something, I wasn't keen on scribbling my terrible handwriting in the signature on these, and decided I needed an alternative way to sign these pieces, opting for a pair of traditional Japanese stamps that I had made in Hiroshima, the history of what happened to that landscape was too much to resist not tying into these pieces. As to why a 13 and an octopus, well that is a story that only becomes revealed in a face to face conversation.


There is an undeniable reference back to Rothko in these, whilst I admit that I've alway been somewhat in awe of his work, it has been a retrospective realisation. I think one of the main influences was some video work I created back in 1992 called '8 minutes and 7 seconds' that in turn was influenced by the compositions of Glenn Branca and the works of John Cage and the pursuit of a zen-like brutal but nuanced simplicity, an antidote to the frivolous and noisy.



Whilst producing most of these I listened mostly to the various incarnations and involvements of Robert Hampson (Loop, Main).

On Twitter Rich tweeted:

That 10 year thing. Same hat, many more scars, growth, adventures, misadventures, gains and losses, greyer, and wri… https://t.co/nFkaRXMaG4 26 minutes ago

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