David Noonan

Viewing the notion of nostalgia as an ‘aesthetic’ rather than sentimental longing, David Noonan’s exhibition ‘Stagecraft’ at Art Gallery of Ballarat is evocative of personal and collective memories.

David Noonan is on an endless quest to source, construct and amalgamate a range of inexplicable and beguiling images. His processes are reliant upon the synchronicity of accidents, as the artist comments, ‘one image activates a dormant one and something quite special happens.’

Like the role of a puppeteer who imbues their objects with the perception of life, Noonan poetically superimposes abstract and representational imagery through a tactile process of re-vitalisation.

With a curatorial idea adhering to Noonan’s heightened sensitivity to the construction and experience of space, ‘Stagecraft’ will present an intimate and melancholic suite of silkscreen collages, tapestries and a film across three adjoining spaces, surveying the Ballarat-born artist’s practice over the last five years.

Acting as a gestalt, grey-scale silkscreen collages on dyed linen will evoke a haunting residue that references narratives only partially accessible though sourced imagery, including folk textile quilts and theatrical imagery from many different contexts and time periods. The somewhat context-less identity in Untitled (2015) is at once isolated and intermediate as washes of tonal gradation and textile collages simultaneously separate and adjoin limbs in a complex layering of imagery.

‘Stagecraft’ will also exhibit Noonan’s most recent process translating flat paper compositions into hard key black and white jacquard tapestries created by Belgian weavers. In Untitled (2019), organic lines dribble around the circumference of lone figures, foregrounds and backgrounds merging Noonan’s punky aesthetic of underground press  with a sophisticated and seamless layering of imagery.

Acting as an architectural object floating in space, Noonan’s immersive film A Dark and Quiet Place (2017–18) collates an archive of material collected and sifted over a decade. Appearing life sized to invoke a bodily relationship to the moving imagery, the work features large, stripped back sets staging patterns of abstraction and figuration to reflect on the world of the theatre and performance. The accompaniment of an electronic soundtrack, composed by the artist and his assistant Matthew Berka, triggers an eerie, mesmeric atmosphere.

Ahead of his exhibition, Noonan expresses his deep connection with the regional city that stages ‘Stagecraft’ along with many of his early memories: ‘Like any crucial stage in life; growing up in Ballarat, especially in my teenage years, was an immensely formative and influential time for me. I have always had a very strong aesthetic and emotional attachment to the place.’

This preview was originally published in Artist Profile, Issue 50, 2020

David Noonan: Stagrcraft
14 March – 28 June 2020
Art Gallery of Ballarat – VIEW ONLINE

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