TRAVEL NOTES 2007

NOEL MCKENNA
TRAVEL NOTES

2007

EXHIBITION TEXTS

The last painting I did for this exhibition, "3708 Utopia Parkway, Flushing, New York" is a painting of an average looking home in the borough of Queens, New York. When you travel up Utopia Parkway you would not give a second glance at No 3708. For me, the home has a special significance as it was where Joseph Cornell lived from 1929 until his death on December 29th in 1972.

This painting fits in with the concept of images from my travels in the last couple of years, but the fact that Cornell never travelled outside of the USA - hardly ever out of New York - appealed to me as the idea for this show came to me in Nice this year. I had bumped into an acquaintance, who I hadn’t seen for years, and she said "well Noelie, how are you enjoying your first trip overseas?"

I was taken aback a bit, but I hadn’t seen them for years and what can you do about how people perceive you? After that I got to thinking about where I had been in the last 2 years. In no particular order, I have travelled to Wellington, Auckland, Russell, Dargaville in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Osaka, London, New York, Zurich, Nice, The Hague and Sicily. Travel for me includes Australia so I will throw in the Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong and Kioloa.

Most of my travel is linked with exhibitions; I have travelled to every exhibition I have ever had and see no reason why I won’t in the future.

I generally don’t work on the spot when I travel preferring to use photographs when I return home. On my most recent trip in Sicily though, I did quite a few ink and watercolour works on cardboard which I salvaged on my trips to the local supermarket.

A final thought regarding Joseph Cornell, an artist I have long admired, who, for me, is almost an outsider artist, residing in his own world of nympholepsy, but in some ways was an insider exhibiting with Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy, Andre Breton, Alexander Calder, Man Ray and many others at the Julien Levy Gallery New York.

The boxes he made in his basement in Utopia Parkway - often about exotic locations around the world - have done the travelling for him in that almost everywhere I have been on my travels away from my basement, I have encountered one of his works in a museum.

Noel McKenna
2007