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– South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna

Posted on March 13, 2013 in Curatorial.

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From left to right: artist Noel McKenna, art dealer Darren Knight and South of no North publication supporters Andrew Rothery and Julia Chanteloup, photograph: Tito Media

South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna contextualises the work of Australian painter Noel McKenna with his international peers, photographers Laurence Aberhart (NZ) and William Eggleston (USA). Curated by the MCA’s Glenn Barkley, the exhibition runs until 5 May 2013 in the Level 1 South Gallery.

There are many connections in the exhibition, one being Sydney-based art dealer Darren Knight who represents both Noel McKenna and Laurence Aberhart.

How long have you known and worked with Noel McKenna?

I first met Noel in the late 1980s, while working at the Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney. We shared an interest in some of the self-taught artists associated with the gallery, Selby Warren, Sam Byrne, Charles Callins & James Fardoulys. Noel was also a visitor to my gallery during its early days in Melbourne. I began representing his work when the gallery relocated to Sydney in 1997.

Laurence Aberhart mentioned that for a while he only knew Noel McKenna as the purchaser name on receipts from your gallery, because McKenna was such a fan of his work. Why do you think Aberhart’s contact prints appealed to McKenna in such a way?

I don’t think there was one particular aspect of Laurence’s photographs that attracted Noel, I imagine he recognised the many aspects of Laurence’s work that make him such an important artist. The way he is able to capture so much about the culture and history of a place with simple imagery. Laurence can find much of value and beauty in the everyday and ordinary. Aberhart’s work shares both a stillness and sense of melancholy with much of Noel’s work, which I’m sure had something to do with Noel’s initial attraction to his photographs.

Do you know when McKenna and Aberhart first met?

I can’t quite remember but I think it was during Laurence’s first trip to Australia with his camera, in 1997.

As their art dealer, what appealed to you in both their practices?

They both have an original and individualistic approach to their art, they are both very sure of what they are doing and they both have something to say about the time and place in which they live. Neither makes compromises in their art, neither cares much for fashion. They are both very distinct artistic personalities.

Were you aware of the impact of William Eggleston’s work on theirs?

I have been aware of Noel’s interest in Eggleston’s work for some time; through works which have directly referenced or been inspired by Eggleston’s photographs. I know Laurence has a deep interest in the history of photography, in which Eggleston plays a significant role.

To find out more about the exhibition, visit the webpage

Darren Knight Gallery was established in 1992 in Melbourne and relocated to Waterloo, Sydney in 1997. The focus of the gallery is on the long-term representation of selected contemporary artists from Australia, New Zealand and internationally. To find out more about Darren Knight Gallery, visit the website

Laurence Aberhart also has his own website

Posted by Kelly Stone