When he packed it in working as a carpenter on the Wollongong waterfront and went to art school as a mature-age student, Dan Moynihan ended up getting a job at Bunnings Warehouse to help with finances. While he now presents his artwork nationally and internationally, and has pieces in big collections, Moynihan eschews any art-star gloss. The hardware job, though, gives an insight into his practice. With his imaginative eye for materials, being at Bunnings is like working in a gargantuan art shop: something as simple as a length of aluminium, Moynihan says, is a joy for him to behold.
Little wonder his successful career reveals a love of surfaces such as stainless-steel mirror-finished bricks (Seeing Things, 2016) or more than 2000 paint-tin labels daubed with swatches of colour (Mixed Emotions, 2019). His latest projects at Tolarno will be presented in what the artist describes as “a one-man group show”.
A mix of both old and new ideas occupy the gallery space, and compete for attention. These include a triple stack of digital clock radios that flash on-and-off with the message “WAKE UP TIME TO DIE”, anda Bladerunner reference that nods to Moynihan’s previous works riffing on the cinema experience.
Moynihan says that even in a commercial space, he has always liked to respond experimentally to a site and let it be seen in a fresh way. “I’m aiming to create an exhibition that at first glance appears as quite disparate but as the audience spends more time with the work, a cohesion presents itself.”
And as always, there are a lot of personal reference points and in-jokes—some blatantly obvious and others so subtle they appear to be there only for Moynihan’s amusement.
Recently, Moynihan had a revelation as he was stopped dead in his tracks by a lone piece of hard rubbish on the side of the road. This revelation transformed an office stationery cabinet into a portal as part of his new installation. “I tried to explain it to someone. They just didn’t get it.”
Out of Interest
26 November – 17 December 2022