South of No North

Art Life , Exhibitions Mar 08, 2013 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

South of No North was originally the name of a book of short stories by American writer Charles Bukowski, who came to be known as the ‘Poet Laureate of Skid Row’ when he dipped his author’s toes into the less desirable parts of Los Angeles for inspiration. South of no North is also what you get when you team Australia’s Noel McKenna in an exhibition with photographers Laurence Aberhart, who lives in Northland, Aotearoa/New Zealand and, resident of the USA’s southern state of Tennessee, William Eggleston.

QT_March 8_South of No North

Despite the obvious differences in their artistic practices, this show encourages thinking about what these artists have in common. Like Bukowski, each artist makes work that reflects a strong sense of place and a vigorous interest in humble moments and everyday scenes. McKenna is well known for his whimsical take on ordinary Australia and in particular on his quest to paint the entire collection of our quirky ‘big things’ (Big Pineapple, Big Penguin) found throughout the country. Aberhart’s subjects are printed in black and white and in small format. Many photographs here explore the people and landscapes of his home country but this show also includes several taken during visits to the southern states of America.

Although less well known in Australia, Eggleston’s career was given a boost way back in 1976 when he became the first person to exhibit colour photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This exhibition considered the idea of the ‘Democratic Camera’, a theme later taken up by numerous artists and one which remains an influence in commercial photography and advertising.

Until May 5.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Pic: William Eggleston, Untitled (Memphis), 1970. Dye-transfer print, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1980. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York and © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Sharne Wolff

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