While only one aspect of David Noonan's most recent exhibition at Uplands Gallery in the city, it is the brooding, melancholic visage of the owl that will haunt viewers long after seeing the show.
Noonan's owls hunker in the shadows, their unblinking eyes staring down all-comers. The sense of gothic threat continues in his works on paper, which feature strange scenes set in Tudor-style homes where Enid Blyton meets Alfred Hitchcock. A memory, perhaps, of childhood, playing with kites on a heath; or a window into a cinematic moment.
In one work, a young girl stares through a doorway, her face twisted into a grimace of terror. The viewer can only guess what she is witnessing. "
" But despite the sense of ambiguity, these are also beautifully rendered images and not without a sense of knowing humour, as though the artist was sitting around a fire telling horror stories to scare the kids.
"The loaded nature of the owl as a subject was what drew me to it," Noonan says.
"In cinema and literature the owl is often associated with the supernatural or as a foreboder of evil.
It has strongly established symbolic meanings that are built up from folk tales and Gothic fiction.
Almost everybody has a personal association with owls, as did I. The image is already stacked up with meanings, but they are all personal." "
David Noonan is yet another artist featured in Hell Bound.
I'm not really that keen on his art personally, but his fascination with owls fascinates me ;-)
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