Friday, March 15, 2013

South of no North at the MCA - 15 March

To be honest I didn't know what this exhibition was going to be, I was only cutting through the MCA as it was raining, when curiosity got the better of me and I nipped in to see what had replaced TABOO ...

Turns out it is "South of no North", which makes absolutely no sense to me as a title.  Here the MCA has picked an Australian artist (Noel McKenna) and contrasted his work with two international artists (William Eggleston - US and Laurence Aberhart - NZ).  It is all a little ANZUS for me, where is David Lange?  Anyway, I was scooting through this exhibition fairly speedily until I entered the side room and paused.  There they were, magnificent paintings! Of Big Things!  Yes, yes, yes and Yes. So it turns out Noel McKenna (who I am not ashamed to admit I had never really heard of) did quite the series of big things back in the day.  Now some excerpts from the gallery blurb: "Noel McKenna's series of paintings of 'big things' are humorous at first but a deeper analysis reveals a more complex set of social and cultural relationships.  Why it it that the civic leaders of Australia are so obsessed with these big things? Is there not something pathetic and forlorn about them or even slightly deranged? But as much as they are cringe-inducing they are also magical sites: places of pilgrimage and wonder. They recall childhood trips and holidays, symbolic markers of a journey - turning the corner to see something marvellous up ahead and knowing you are almost there - be it home or away".  I admit I am a huge fan of big things, always have been, but then I love kitsch.  And spending 7 years in the US certainly made me appreciate our home grown culture all the more upon my return.  In fact, I made sure to get a photo of the Big Spud when I was down in Robertson a week ago!  I did think that William Eggleston's trike (Untitled (Memphis), pictured middle) was a great contrast to the big thing paintings, it complements the Rocking Horse, Gumeracha, particularly well.  As well as the Rocking Horse there was the Big Orange at Berri, the Big Penguin from Tassie, the Big Softdrink bottle from Victoria and the Big Pineapple from Qld. So definitely pop in and see these cultural icons, they are here until 5 May.  Just think of the savings in petrol!  I didn't check but it would be un-Australian of the MCA not to have tea towels of these bad boys in the gift shop.  Fingers crossed.

Points - 3 to the Big Rocking Horse, 2 to the Big Penguin and 1 to the Big Pineapple.  Of course, when the Big Lamington makes its long awaited appearance that order may have to be re-arranged!

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