Noel McKenna

Unseen, 1999
enamel on canvas board
43 x 52.7 cm
signed and dated ‘N. McKenna 99’ (lower left)

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Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Unseen

Image courtesy of the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

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Now Sydney-based, Noel McKenna was born and raised in Brisbane in the 1960s and recalls a childhood spent in the suburbs in the era before front doors were locked, dogs were muzzled and concerns for OH&S prevented kids from climbing trees and play equipment. He initially undertook studies in architecture at the University of Queensland in 1974 and transferred to the art department of the Queensland College of Art a year later. In 1981 he moved to Sydney to study at the Alexander Mackie College. He works across painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, creating offbeat visions of everyday Australia.

In 2014 McKenna was the subject of a major solo exhibition 'Absurdia: Noel McKenna - A Focus' at the Newcastle Art Gallery, New South Wales and featured in group exhibitions at the Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest, Sydney; TarraWarra Museum of Art, Melbourne; and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne. In 2013 he featured in 'South of no North - Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna' at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Other important exhibitions include 'Volume One: MCA Collection', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2012; 'Avoiding Myth & Message: Australian Artists and the Literary World', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2009; 'Who Let the Dogs Out - the Dog in Contemporary Australian Art', Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery and Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, New South Wales, 2008; 'Home Sweet Home: Works from the Peter Fay Collection', National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2003-4.

Noel McKenna is well represented in both public and private collections in Australia and is a five time recipient of the Wynne Prize for Watercolour, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.