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

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


08 March 2013 to 05 May 2013


Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna

Curator: Glenn Barkley

About the exhibition

South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston and Noel McKenna presented three artists whose works are connected by an interest in the vernacular, a regional sense of place and a similar visual sensibility.

The exhibition was part of an ongoing series at the MCA placing the work of an Australian artist alongside that of their international peers. These exhibitions provide opportunities for Australian artists to be positioned in a broader global dialogue.

Australian artist Noel McKenna has lived and worked in Sydney since moving from Brisbane in 1981. He has chronicled the city and its people whilst travelling extensively, particularly in New Zealand and Europe.

McKenna chose to be shown alongside two photographers. The influential American photographer William Eggleston, who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee, and works exclusively with colour photography. Laurence Aberhart resides in Russell on the North Island in New Zealand and works predominantly with black and white photography. Aberhart has photographed environments in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Antarctica and the United States of America.

All three artists have a common literary sensibility that captures details of the built environment and human interactions that have their own particular pathos. They tend to work on a small scale and their works provide a window into a world where you really have to look. Viewers are drawn in rather than overwhelmed, peering into places and moments now past.

Their artworks are akin to short stories where emotions and narratives are condensed into rich and provocative sensations reflecting the everyday world and making manifest the power of art to alert us to the wonder and poetry that is all around us.

South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston and Noel McKenna takes its title from the two places in which both Aberhart and Eggleston live and work. It is also a title of a book of collected short stories by the American author Charles Bukowski and the three artists are linked by having a literary sensibility in their practice akin to the short story form.

An MCA Touring exhibition:

  • Artspace Mackay: 5 July – 25 August 2013
  • City Gallery, Wellington: 14 December 2014 – 9 March 2015

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