DAVID NOONAN’s latest solo exhibition at Foxy Production pits image against image in an evocative and at times unnerving meditation on the resonance of material and representation. Through the lens of found photographs, Noonan dissolves, repeats, and resituates images to explore memory, nostalgia, and association. The exhibition, comprising large multi-panel silkscreen canvases, a flat-planed wooden sculpture with silkscreened canvas, and a series of collaged paper works, intrigues and disquiets with its complex convergence of the mythic and the real.
His multi-panel silkscreens intensely overlap images to create dreamlike scenes where narrative or formal meanings are illusive. They include geometric patterning, striped overlays, or diagonal thrusting arms that abstract and complicate the overall tableaux. By presenting the most stylized of images unanchored from their original context, he explores the workings of remembrance, connotation, and sentiment. He confronts nostalgia for the real, not through didactic deconstruction, but rather through the pleasure and pain of the imaginary: his highly mediated images reverberate with undetermined narratives that excite, disquiet, or charm.
His sculptural piece, made from seven carved panels of wood and resting upon a woven seagrass mat, resembles an unfinished theatre set, depicting actors rather than a scene. Positioned like a Japanese screen, it has two characters: a woman repeated on five slats and a man on two. Both seem drawn from a long forgotten experimental drama: they have striped monochromatic costumes with corresponding high contrast make-up. While playing with recognition and fiction, the work’s conflation of 2D and 3D and its fusion of the dramatic with the sculptural highlights the theatrical presence of Modernist sculpture and contemporary installation.
Noonan’s black and white collages place images of actors, engaged in robust, stylized performances and adorned in revealing experimental costumes, upon jarring backgrounds of avant-garde theater spaces. There is a vexing disjunction between performer and scene: mismatched figures and backgrounds disrupt the viewer’s sense of scale and thwart their impulse to create narrative. Connecting to subterranean thoughts and feelings, beneath the layers of self-definition, Noonan elucidates the expressive power of the reconfigured, rerigged and repositioned.
Installation photography by Mark Woods.