Large Wave, 1999 signed and dated 'N. McKenna 99' lower left enamel on plywood 35 x 33cm (13 3/4 x 13in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in August 1999
EXHIBITED: Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011
Noel McKenna was born in Brisbane and after briefly studying architecture attended art school at Queensland College of Art. In 1980 he moved to Sydney where he still lives and works. He regularly undertakes sojourns to the US, Europe and New Zealand.
McKenna has maintained a steady interest in documenting the everyday world around him pet dogs, interiors, houses or stories one might read in the newspaper. His work is in most major public collections in Australia and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions nationally and in New Zealand. He is to be included in the exhibition South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna at the MCA Australia in March May 2013.
Large Wave (1999) demonstrates McKenna's loose ability to mine art history redeploying it to his own ends. Recalling Hokusai's famous woodcut The Great Wave off Kanagawa,in Large Wavea richly metaphorical surge overwhelms a tiny boat. It is a depiction of fate tempered by a black humour.
Its scale is diminutive, something we associate more generally withMcKenna's work, and the material,enamel and plywood, are typicallysomething we would associate with a d.i.y. or making-do aesthetic another hallmark of McKenna's output.