Important Australian + International Fine Art
31 August 2011


born 1969

cotton, nylon and bleach on fabric

152.0 x 111.0 cm

$40,000 - 60,000

Uplands Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, New Zealand

Catalogue text

A child of the 1970s, David Noonan's work contains a complex layering of references and cultural motifs that slip forwards and backwards in time, from the gothic to the flocked wallpaper of suburban Ballarat where he was raised. Noonan conceives of his work within the nexus between film, painting, printmaking and installation. From his early Super 8 films to his return to painting, Noonan engages completely with the textural materiality of his chosen mediums. As noted by Johannah Fahey, 'His art is never simply about visuals, and almost always about creating ambience. There is not a single point of definition, but a resonance; and a sense of immersion is created.'1

It is this ambience, manifested so eerily in Untitled 2005, which sets Noonan's work apart. His mise-en-scene is beautiful and foreboding, describing an otherworldliness that has its source in films such as Field, and SOWA, both of 2005. Crediting his use of a monochromatic palette to Jean-Luc Godard's film Alphaville 1965, Noonan's interest in the genres of science fiction and film-noir results in works that function as portals to another, distant place. In her review of Noonan's solo show at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Melissa Gronlund describes the resulting works as 'after-images' adding that the artist' explores a state of what might be called temporal exile: hangovers from the past in the present, folk symbols whose meaning is forgotten and in a more general way, the lingering nostalgia for a grandeur lost before our time.'2

Awash in sepia-tones and speckled with an atmospheric haze, the landscape in Untitled 2005, recedes and flattens around the radiant central figure, our protagonist. Like many of Noonan's works, there is a strong narrative thread - the viewer can imagine what has just happened and what will happen next; whilst ultimately unknowable, this mysterious element results in an overriding sense of coherence. As Fahey concludes, 'while a certain degree of abstraction is created through Noonan's process of mediation, there is also an intimacy created by bringing representations of the past, things that happened 'before', in existence in the 'now''.3 The density of Noonan's work is expressed in these moments of shifting temporalities.

1. Fahey, J., 'Before and Now: The Work of David Noonan' in Eyeline, no.58, Spring 2005, p. 44
2. Gronlund, M., 'David Noonan' in Art Review, issue 9, March 2007, p. 95
3. Fahey, op.cit., p. 42