ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS 2011

NOEL MCKENNA
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS

2011

EXHIBITION TEXTS

There are many types of homes one could do paintings of, brick homes, wood homes, footballers' homes, dentists' homes, three storey homes, circular homes, the list goes on and on. Most of the homes in this show have a connection to politicians, either a childhood home, birthplace, or where they live today.

The childhood home of Paul John Keating was the first completed in the series. Keating came from humble beginnings as his Bankstown home illustrates and his journey to his current identity as a connoisseur of many things including art, architecture and town planning l am sure has been interesting. It would be hard to adjust to normal life after being Prime Minister with all the power and trappings that go with the job. Living in Sydney it is hard to ignore Mr Keating as he gets a fair amount of exposure in the media especially with his ideas on a major area of public land in the city of Sydney. He has always been an extremely confident person and l think he is perceived by a lot of people as being arrogant and pompous.

The early years of one’s life is  very important on how a life turns out so it  makes sense that the home one grows up in is important. It is interesting looking at how Paul Keating and George W Bush both grew up in similiar unpretentious homes which in the case of George W Bush did surprise me. I did discover though that as a child, George W Bush was a member of the Roy Rogers Riders Club and he carried in his pocket the club rules which are as follows:

Roy Rogers Riders Club

1. Be neat and clean.
2. Be courteous and polite.
3. Always obey your parents.
4. Protect the weak and always help them.
5. Be brave but never take chances.
6. Study hard and learn all you can.
7. Be kind to animals and care for them.
8. Eat all your food and never waste any.
9. Love God and go to Sunday school regularly.
10. Always respect our flag and our country.

Bob Brown's house in Tasmania seems almost idyllic, unpretentious, friendly, warm and green. Of today's leaders he does come across as the most sincere and of all the homes in this show it is the one l would most want to spend time in.

Hunting Lodge, Finland, is a building designed by Alvar Aalto, the great Finnish architect, in 1945. Aalto is a designer l admire. The hunting lodge was a small scale commission. It has elements of Finnish and German vernacular architecture and is a roughly worked wooden structure with details such as wooden gutters, decorative wrought iron hinges and a turf roof.  It is quite a humble almost fairytale like building. Aalto was very well known at the time and had completed much more elaborate and important commissions but was still able to create this unassuming building which is in perfect balance with the cabin's use: to rest in its warmth after a day's hunting.

"The Cosmic Battle for your Heart" Is the name of an ARI in Sydney which ran from 2009 to 2011 organised by the artists Mitch Cairns, Kelly Doley, Brian Fuata and Agatha
Goethe – Snape. I went to a few exhibitions there, the building is now gone, but it had a  nice sort of patina that old buildings can get, a sort of domestic warmth inside which also helped in the  enjoyment of the work shown there.

All That Heavens Allows, is the title of a 1955 Hollywood movie made by Douglas Sirk who was a European intellectual who studied Law, Philosphy and Art History. Leaving Germany on the eve of WWII he arrived in Hollywood in 1942. He started making movies in the 50's which were generally very successful but ignored by the critics and serious film buffs. The movie starred Jane Wyman as a wealthy widow who falls in love with Rock Hudson a much younger gardener.

The main part of the movie is Rock Hudson doing up an old mill on his property which he is going to turn into his home. This building connection may explain why l used the movie's title in this exhibition. I had first seen this movie when I was about 13 but for some reason I had started remembering elements of it recently.

It is a soap opera on one level but the script and some of the photography, the angles, the saturated colour make it quite a stylish film. Sirk himself said of his films " There is a very short distance between high art and trash, and trash that contains the element of craziness is by this very quality nearer to art"

Noel McKenna
3 July 2011.