Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about context. The context of a building in its environment; the context in which a diverse group of people – for instance, the ‘family’ here at Tobias Partners – act and interact; the context on which an art work is brought to life, the dialogue it engages with other works, other artists, other periods in time. This last stream of thought has been greatly stimulated by the latest chapter of the South of no North series at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The premise is very clever: to choose an Australian artist and show a suite of his of her work in parallel with the work of two non-Australian artists. This time around, the Australian painter is Noel McKenna, the international guests: photographers William Eggleston (USA) and Laurence Aberhart (New Zealand).
Of different origins, generations and essential intent, all three nonetheless share a fascination with the everyday; the beauty to be found in the quotidian; often through transposing scale, from the grandiose to the very intimate, and shifting the context of the familiar to the strange. While Aberhart works mostly in black and white, and Eggleston and McKenna tend to opt for colour that pops, the curator has managed to draw a red thread through the work, creating a frisson of recognition along the way. A unique curatorial concept — bravo to the MCA!