10 March – 2 April 2011

A procession of figures travels through space. Is it a parade? A communal pageant? Ribbons, flags and masks suggest ritualistic performance. David Noonan's ambiguous sculptural scenarios exist in an a historical space that is rich with possibility. Screen-printed sculptures read as free-standing paintings or scenes plucked from the pictorial space. Their scale invites three-dimensional investigation. We want to walk around them, to become participants in the parade, students in the classroom, actors on the set.

Supported by steel feet, the birch plywood constructions recall room dividers or classroom props. Linen seams visible on the collaged surfaces declare the construction of the whole. Like elegant Japanese carpentry, these objects have been designed to easily fit together and lock in place. They have a capacity for disassembly and re-assembly that implies future movement and relocation. We are part of the parade now, but vaguely aware that the classroom lesson, the performance, will move on. Where to? Where from? Such questions connect us to alternative audiences and groups, removed though they may be by time and space.

The actual activities of Noonan's characters, the origins of the images themselves, are never fully revealed. But there is an underlying sense of heightened awareness in these scenes. Noonan's figures appear to be improvising, in that they are fully present, responding intuitively to their immediate environment and impulses. Play provides a fertile space for the creation of new structures, practices and symbols, and these sculptural snapshots seem to document such a moment of invention.

The sense of documentation arises largely from Noonan's materials. The dot-matrix of enlarged screen-prints and the sepia tones of linen imbue the sculptures with an historical aesthetic. In contrast, Noonan's collaged and screen-printed wall works are rendered in cooler tones. They are windows that articulate the space architecturally. Abstract images of leadlight lattice meld with, and simultaneously frame, found portraits. The resulting veiled assemblages in turn "frame" the sculptures. In contrast to the inherent flatness of the screen-print, these images are built up, subtly layered, or embossed. They are surface reliefs—the textured elements relating back to their sculptural counterparts. For Noonan, it seems, it is the dialogue that is important; the relationships and tensions that arise between figure and form, image and image, figuration and abstraction.

—Olivia Sophia

David Noonan has exhibited nationally and internationally for almost two decades, including solo exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2009), the Chisenhale Gallery in London (2008) and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2007). Recent group exhibitions and biennales include "The British Art Show 7" (2010), "The Biennale of Sydney" (2010), "Altermodern", the Tate Triennial (2009) and the "Gwangju Biennale" (2008). A solo exhibition of Noonan's work curated by Dominique Malone will open at the Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis in September 2011 and Noonan currently has work in the "The Age of Aquarius" at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago. David Noonan's work is held in important public and private collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the British Arts Council, UK, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Sender Collection, New York and the Rubell Collection, Florida. David Noonan has been represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 1999.

Exhibition opening: Thursday 10 March 6 — 8pm
Exhibition dates: 10 March — 2 April 2011

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