Utopia, a former cattle station in central Australia (around 240kms north east of Alice Springs) was handed back to the Anmatyerr and Alyawarr people as Aboriginal freehold land in 1979. The women at Utopia were instrumental in the land rights claim, as they presented evidence of their ownership of the land through Awelye (women’s ceremonies) including body paint designs. Sales from batiks created by the women in the late 1970s enabled funds to be available to support the successful land claim.
The paintings by artists from Utopia are a contemporary expression of the cultural knowledge an artist holds about country, formed through the medium of acrylic paint. Although often superficially depicting the food and flora of their landscape, such paintings reveal an artist’s inextricable link to country and the deeper intimate knowledge of cultural heritage and ceremony.
Bella d’Abrera, granddaughter of Constance Stokes was a recent guest on the Sky News program Outsiders (Monday 25th June) where she spoke about the importance of Stokes’ rigorous academic training and the impact of travelling and seeing important artworks in London and Paris and how that shaped her art.
“She was able to use one line to capture the solidity and weight of the figure and this was entirely based on her training, really rigorous training as a younger artist and that western tradition.”
“Stokes was once mentioned in the same breath as Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, as a great Australian artist. She exhibited during the 30s, 40s, 50s and then again after the war in the 60s and 70s.”
“In London in the 1930s, she directly inherited that Renaissance idea of looking at the form.”
“Sir Kenneth Clark, who came to Australia in the 1940s and he met all the artists and he saw her work and he said, Constance Stokes is one of the world’s greatest draughtsman.”
“…she came back to Australia and she became the most sought after portraitist in Victoria at the time, so she had people queueing to get their portraits done by her…”
For an edited transcript please click here or to listen to the podcast click here
Click here to view artworks by CONSTANCE STOKES available at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art
The outstanding works by ceramicist Stephen Bowers continue to gain the interest by international collections. Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod is a recent acquisition by the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA.
Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod 2018 jigger jolley, white earthenware, underglaze color, clear glaze, on-glaze, ‘distressed’ burnished antique gold, 2.5 x 35.7 cm.
Against a back ground of lobed reserves, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo ( Cacatua galleria) perches, holding in its beak a length of blue twisted string from which the bird is dangling a decorative bow arrangement The cockatoo references classic natural history (bird) illustration, being derived from, and paying homage to, the work of W T Cooper . The decorative yellow bow is sourced from Meyer’s Hand book of Ornament.
The reserve above the bird’s raised crest is filled with Honeysuckle, a wallpaper design first registered by William Morris in 1883. The bird perches on another reserve depicting a fragment of fabric design (also called Honeysuckle) by William Morris 1874 (sample in the Birmingham Museum). Behind the chest of the cockatoo is a reserve decorated with Eucalyptus corymbosa (Bloodwood) from botanical illustrations in A Research on The Eucalyptus and their Essential Oils by Richard T Baker and Henry G Smith, Technological Museum of New South Wales, Sydney 1920.
Finally, the large lobed circular fragment to the left of the cockatoo comprises a blue and white paneled border with elements in a central circular in-fill. The border and foliage details are based closely on Ming kraakwares held in the collection of the PEM Salem, in particular a porcelain Charger, 1573 – 1619, 3.3 ins (8.4 cms) X 20.7 ins (52.6 cms) dia. Museum purchase 1994. E84059. The paneled sections of the outer border contain motifs typical of the period including auspicious Buddhist regalia and symbols. The central circular reserve incorporates a rendering of the 1773 George Stubb’s Kangaroo – the first clear depiction of this Australian marsupial macropod.
For details about available works by Stephen Bowers, please view our stockroom or contact the Gallery.
Currently on show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is On Country: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan-Levi Gift, citing paintings by leading indigenous artists in a contemporary global context. The exhibition includes large-scale paintings by Kathleen Petyarre; Dorothy Napangardi; Abie Loy Kemarre; Doreen Reid Nakamarra and Gunybi Ganambarr.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is exhibiting at this year’s Melbourne Fair at Caulfield Racecourse from
23 -26 November 2017 with over 50 dealers specialising in Art, Books, Collectibles, Decorative Objects, Furniture, Jewellery, Vintage Fashion and Couture.
Opening Night Thursday 23 November 6pm – 9pm
Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November 11am – 6pm
Sunday 26 November 11am – 5pm
Single Day ticket $15 (conc. $10 and children under 16 free); Opening Night $30
Earlier this year we unveiled the Goggomobil D’art Project, a commissioned project by Jeff Brown which saw Robert Clinch’s signature paper darts painted across the entire surface of a classic Goggomobil Dart sportscar. If you missed seeing this amazing car at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, it will be a part of Motorclassica this weekend at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton (13 – 15 October 2017).
We would also like to congratulate Robert Clinch who has been selected as a finalist in a series of works on paper art awards including :
A series of ‘Dart’ artworks are currently available at LDFA. Whilst inspired by the Goggomobil D’art Project the paintings and drawings of darts encompass their own narratives, with characteristic whimsical titles.
To view Robert’s paintings and lithographs please click here.
Congratulations to Genevieve Kemarr Loy who is a finalist in the Paddington Art Prize for 2017. This is the 14th year the prize for paintings inspired by the Australian landscape will be shown. Genevieve’s painting Akwerlkerrmwerlkerr 2017 (synthetic polymer on linen, 200 x 122 cm) depicts a particular plant which grows in her country which has small white flowers and seeds which the bush turkey likes to eat. Genevieve’s painting is inspired by the culture, stories, flora and fauna of her country, Utopia, N.T.
Following our recent exhibition The Next Generationfeaturing the paintings of two young indigenous women, Lorraine Kabbindi White and Genevieve Kemarr Loy, a selection of Genevieve’s paintings are currently on show at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art.
Listen to a video of Genevieve discussing her work by clicking here.
We pay tribute to the much admired art world figure Joan McClelland who passed away at the age of 104. Joan was at the helm of the successful Joshua McClelland Print Room for over 70 years, taking over from her husband in the 1950s. She was a well-liked person known for her fairness and professionalism. She inspired confidence in her clients with her understated manner and was a regular at auctions and galleries in Melbourne. Her understanding and knowledge, especially of printmaking was most highly regarded. It was a pleasure to have known Joan and to have been able to work with her. The Joshua McClelland Print Room continues to be a vibrant part of the Melbourne art scene under the management of Joan’s daughter Patricia, now at the new location at Rathdowne Galleries Carlton, run by her second daughter Philippa.
The work of ceramicist Stephen Bowers has been in the papers lately, firstly an article in The Wall Street Journal about the inspiration of the history and tradition of ceramic tableware on contemporary artists.
The announcement of the 39th Alice Prize on Friday 15 Apri 2016l, saw Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray awarded a Highly Commended for her painting Yam Seeds and Flowers. The judge Chris Saines CNZM, Director of the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, reported as follows:
Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray’s Yam Seeds and Flowers is an account of her Bush Yam story, caught in an infinite number of marks that seem almost magnetically organised across the painting’s field. She creates a subtle and dynamic sense of shift across the surface of her painting, evocative of the wind passing over and through the low-lying yam plants at ground level. – Chris Saines CNZM
The 39th Alice Prize is showing at Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs until 13th June 2016.