Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Allan McDonald Photographs

AA
View Discussion
Allan McDonald, Waitara (second hand shop) 2009 Digital C print 1/3 mounted on dibond Allan McDonald, Greymouth (second hand shop) 2009 Diptych, Digital C print 1/3 mounted on dibond Allan McDonald, Christchurch (charity book shop)  2009, Digital C print 1/3, mounted on dibond Allan McDonald, Christchurch (charity book shop)  2009 Digital C Print, mounted on dibond Allan McDonald, Winton, (Second hand shop) 2009 Digital C print, mounted on dibond Allan McDonald, Greymouth (Second hand shop) 2009 Diptych - top image

The organic nature of the apparent chaos in these subtly colourful images is like a wave descending from a burst dam. However this appealing sense of visual confusion is the result of the flattening of pictorial space and an accentuation of the picture plane, not the bodily sensation the viewer would experience if they were standing in the actual shop, where in fact there is plenty of floor space not clearly detectable in the image.

Auckland

 

Allan McDonald
Something/Nothing

 

27 October - 20 November 2010

When one thinks about some household possessions (like items of furniture and clothing) they often seem to improve in appearance and comfort the less new and more battered they become, and so stores selling such second-hand articles at cheap prices attract an enthusiastic client-base. Allan McDonald‘s ten photographs at Anna Miles look at the gradual disappearance of such book/clothing/bric-a-brac shops from our small towns or cities. His show scrutinises the interiors of these stores and the displays of recycled goods used to attract buyers; customers who will hopefully then love what has earlier been abandoned and give it a new home.

Because of the democratic arrangement of objects from different time periods all mixed up together - as opposed to retail stores where items usually pertain to the current historical or fashionable moment - McDonald’s images are reminiscent of displays inside rundown museums. The best of these found inside vistas have a shambolic, makeshift quality, seemingly tipping away from order and organisational structure towards overcrowding and chaos.

Yet the appearance of mayhem is deceptive. After all these places often survive for quite long periods and even become ‘institutions’, so to do that they must be organised and efficient. Within McDonald’s images it is the detailed acuity of lettered signage and pattern that fascinates, precisely focused versions of shelved, racked, stacked and piled goods - often enhanced by ordered rhythms of repeated planks within the room’s glossy white ceilings and background walls.

The organic nature of the apparent chaos in these subtly colourful images, a flowing tide of plethora invading hitherto unoccupied regions, is like a wave descending from a burst dam. However this appealing sense of visual confusion is the result of the flattening of pictorial space and an accentuation of the picture plane, not the bodily sensation the viewer would experience if they were standing in the actual shop, where in fact there is plenty of floor space not clearly detectable in the image.

That illusionary chaos spreads to create a coherent image which draws you in close. You can identify objects from different periods and see how their presence affects the ambience of each store. Different streams of history (mainly seventies onwards) mingle - but never dissolve - as they jostle for positions of visibility within the large rectangle in front of the camera.

McDonald’s affection for these fascinating storage and selling spaces is infectious, and the diversity he reveals in proprietorial sensibility and functional ‘décor’ surprising. Second-hand shops are comparatively rare in Europe (thrown out things tend to go to the tip - as worn clothing, for example, has a social stigma - or sold in markets) but here such places are accepted, loved and used by many. From his exhibition title McDonald thinks they are disappearing, but that trend might now be reversing as city centres begin to empty out, with downtown sites becoming available cheaper, as shopping malls and luxury goods venues move out to the suburbs.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

This Discussion has 2 comments.

Comment

Kim Finnarty, 12:01 p.m. 8 November, 2010

McDonalds' work goes from strength to strength, this is a great show full of humour, pathos and great picture making.

Reply to this thread

John Hurrell, 1:02 a.m. 9 November, 2010

Why humour,Kim? You mean items of underwear pinned to the wall? Stuff like that?

Reply to this thread

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Alfredo Jaar, Other People Think, 2012, light box with black and white transparency. Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 2016

Reason and Sentience in Others

AUCKLAND ART GALLERY TOI O TAMAKI

Auckland

 

International contemporary collection sampler
Other People Think


10 March -10 June 2018

JH
Imogen Taylor, Imposter Syndrome, 2017, acrylic on canvas; Isobel Thom, Stacking Storage Boxes, Teapot, Cup and Trivet, Bottle Bell, Geodesic Cup and Salt Pigs. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Taylor, Cochran and Thom

TE URU

Titirangi

 

Imogen Taylor (with Vita Cochran and Isobel Thom)
Pocket Histories,

 

10 February —13 May 2018

JH
Natasha Matila-Smith (all 2018, poly-velvet blend, spray paint):  The Scent of You Stays With Me; His Lips Pink and Swollen; Spaghetti, Alone.

Bad Education

ST PAUL St Gallery

Auckland

 

Louisa Afoa, Natasha Matila-Smith, Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Faith Wilson
Between You and Me

 

19 April - 1 June 2018

JH
Tony Cragg's exhibition as installed at Gow Langsford. Photo: Tobias Kraus

Cragg at Gow Langsford

GOW LANGSFORD GALLERY

Auckland

 

Solo show
Tony Cragg

 

8 May - 9 June 2018