Pilgrim Tourist

6 Sep – 22 Sep 2007

Clare Noonan

Is it possible to communicate a real sense of place through dislocated signifiers? Is our own terra firma firmer in reality or metaphor?


Clare Noonan employs highly crafted objects that reference the history of western conventions for perspective and framing. Her constructs are based on these and our own innate cognitive tools, used to define, claim and understand space.

In her Enjoy exhibition, the Cantabrian artist uses these histories and devices to examine notions of place. She is relocating a space, through representation and actual terra firma, to create a meditation on ‘home'. While a dislocation of objects is usual within the frame of the gallery exhibition, Noonan explores this further with Pilgrim Tourist. She says "in the act of transporting these objects and viewing them as artefacts within a gallery space, a tangible narrative of migration is embedded"

Pilgrim Tourist assesses the truth and deception inherent in various representational forms. Noonan has travelled with an image from her home; it is framed within landscape device the ‘Claude Glass' that distorts the view. Traditionally amateur landscape painters and explorers used this visual tool to capture a landscape and distort pictorial truth. The convex glass creates a landscape of soft blurred colours and romanticised aesthetic similar to depictions by the great British pastoral landscape painters.

Taking on board Geoff Park's writing on the construct of nature as scenery, Noonan says, "Landscape doesn't exist without framing and the picturesque does not exist outside an ideal landscape. “Noonan’s is an investigation of place and human, pictorial and landscape devices tied to this land. Early interest in New Zealand was after all hinged upon its romantic visual depiction in the British tradition of landscape - a tradition perpetually tied to British colonial expedition.

Clare Noonan, Pilgrim Tourist, 2007. Image courtesy of Jeremy Booth.

Clare Noonan, Pilgrim Tourist, 2007. Image courtesy of Jeremy Booth.