Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this post includes the name of a person who has died.
It is with great sadness that we pay our respects to senior elder Cowboy Loy Pwerl who died Wednesday 30 March in Alice Springs hospital. Cowboy was a leader within the painting movement at Utopia with his intricate designs often depicting the nesting place of the bush turkey. Cowboy was a senior custodian of a series of Dreaming sites in Utopia, on the western side of the Sandover River. He was an Eastern Anmatyerr speaker who lived his life on country, mostly at Iylenty, and acquired his nickname from his days as a stockman. In his paintings, Cowboy delighted in a strong use of harmonious colour, moving away from more subdued ochres of earlier works, whilst maintaining his signature optical illusional style. On a simple level, the geometric patterning laid out across the canvas in tiny coloured dots, represents the bush turkey as it searches for seeds to eat.
Our thoughts are with Cowboy’s family, particularly Carol, Elizabeth and Genevieve.
Cowboy is represented in the National Gallery of Victoria; the Art Gallery of South Australia; the Melbourne Museum; Benalla Art Gallery; and numerous private collections across Australia and internationally.
A masterwork by the iconic Kimberley artist Rover Thomas has been donated to the National Museum of Australia in honour of Lauraine Diggins OAM. The large-scale painting Jabanunga depicts the Rainbow Serpent penetrating the earth following a subterranean journey in the wake of Cyclone Tracey’s destruction of Darwin.
Lauraine was a strong supporter of Indigenous art on the international stage. “During her lifetime Lauraine was determined to do whatever she could and use her considerable influence to ensure that many of the important art works created in Australia and overseas became part of the national Estate”, says Michael Blanche, Lauraine’s husband and Director of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art and an advocate for philanthropy. Michael, along with co-Director, daughter Nerida Blanche, intend on donating a series of artworks in memory of Lauraine.
Read media coverage about this important painting below:
A special screening of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival entrant, D’Art is being held at Cinema Nova, Carlton this Sunday 7th February at 11am, including a post-screening Q&A session with filmmaker Karl von Moller, along with Robert Clinch and Jeff Brown.
Intertwining exhaustive technical investigation and countless hours of fastidious hand-painting, the goal is to produce a truly unique objet d’art. The D’Art project is an amusing, uplifting and engaging film.
Listen to Zhou Xiaoping talking about his unique artistic practice on The Art Show as aired this morning on Radio National, explaining how he draws on his experience of Chinese inks and rice paper, combined with with western art concepts, including the use of oils and canvas, as well as drawing on the influence of his travels in the north of Australia, particularly Arnhem Land and his connection with Aboriginal people and culture, including the use of ochres. As Xiaoping states, his career demonstrates “cross-cultural artistic practice and brought together the influence of Chinese, Western and Aboriginal culture and art concepts. In this practical process, I realised how important cultural reconciliation and civilisational exchange are. … Looking back at my artistic creation process in Australia, I feel that I followed the path of “learning from nature” from the traditional Chinese culture that I accepted when I was young, then followed that path from China to the world of the Australian Aborigines.” The discussion starts about 1/2 hour into the program (30:36).
We wish to acknowledge NAIDOC Week (8 – 15 November) with this year’s theme ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE. We encourage you to support and celebrate NAIDOC Week events near you. For further details go to www.naidoc.org.au
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples. Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Charles Blackman is one of Australia’s most celebrated and significant figurative artists and was an exceptional draughtsperson. His use of pen and ink, charcoal and pencil – from quick sketches to large sized works on paper – was a constant throughout his life. His drawings bear evidence of the personal nature of his art, used to record ideas, capture daily life, and explore composition in an expressive manner. There is, of course, an immediacy to drawings, particularly black and white images with no distractions other than the dark line across a page.
The 1960s saw Blackman complete a number of strong graphic works, many depicting his family, particularly with the arrival of his son Auguste in 1957 and daughter, Christabel, in 1959. In 1960 Blackman was awarded the Helena Rubenstein prize and selected to exhibit in the Whitechapel Gallery in London, where the Blackman family moved before returning to Australia in 1967, when this drawing was completed.
Portrait of a Young Girl with a Bow in her Hairis a direct and sweet work, full of love and the innocence of childhood, with the child directly engaging the viewer. There is a calm and gentleness to the drawing, perhaps emphasized through the use of charcoal with its richness of texture and softer edge than pen or pencil. As McCulloch noted when the work was exhibited in 1994, “Interesting to contrast is 1967’s Young Girl with a Bow with 1984’s Beatrice Drawing on Herself – both drawings of his two daughters at the same age. The latter has a saccharine sweetness absent in the earlier, more direct but equally delicious work.” (Susan McCulloch, ‘The bush characters’, Herald Sun, Melbourne, 20 April 1994, p. 7)
Blackman is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and in all state galleries, as well as numerous regional and university galleries, in addition to private and corporate collections throughout Australia and internationally. He was awarded an OBE in 1997 and honoured with a survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Schoolgirls and Angels, in 1993.
“There is something immensely exhilarating when tall white gums tower into the blue heavens – the subtle quality of the edges where they meet the sky – how mysterious.” Carrol, A., North, I., and Treganza, J., Hans Heysen Centenary Retrospective 1877 – 1977, Art Gallery Board of South Australia, 1977, p.12
This striking watercolour highlights the majesty of the Australian gum tree rising even beyond the picture plane and is typical of Heysen’s celebrated landscapes, many painted around his home in Hahndorf where his conservation efforts continue to be enjoyed at The Cedars today. Heysen had a passion for depicting such ancient trees, especially with a glow filtering through the branches, providing a contrast between light and shadow. The resting figure and quiet horses lend a calm atmosphere and give perspective to the heroic trees.
We are really excited that indigenous artist Genevieve Kemarr Loy has been selected as a finalist in this year’s Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, an annual prize that was launched in 2017 to advance art and opportunity for emerging and established female artists in Australia. It is the highest value professional artist prize for women in Australia.
The current global situation has meant a delay in the exhibition which is now scheduled to open 27 November, showing until 12 December at the Ravenswood School for Girls, Gordon, NSW. As their website mentions, although up to 70% of art school graduates are female, women artists make up less than half of represented artists in exhibitions and prizes around Australia, with State museums showing 34% of female artists amongst their collections. This is something many galleries are continuing to address. The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize provides a platform to promote female visual artists, assisting in career development, providing opportunities for greater connections and inspiring current students.
Genevieve follows the tradition of her grandmother, Nancy Kunoth Petyarr and was taught to paint by her father, Cowboy Loy Pwerl, an indigenous elder in Utopia and custodian of the Bush Turkey Dreaming. On a superficial level Genevieve’s paintings often depict the tracks the Bush Turkey makes as it searches for seeds and other ‘tucker’ and makes its way to the waterhole. Genevieve’s complex and detailed paintings are characterised by a beautiful and careful handling of paint; a harmonious sense of colour; and great control of the delicate spidery marks that make their way across her canvas. Her meticulous lines can be difficult to read in a digital reproduction and are best understood and appreciated in person.
Read more about Genevieve on our site or view available works in the Stockroom. Please contact the Gallery for any further details. Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is currently open by appointment.
Congratulations to all involved in making the D’art movie, a rollicking ride resulting in a vintage Goggomobil Dart car painted in artist Robert Clinch’s signature paper darts. Filmmaker Karl von Möller is deservedly recognised with the work’s inclusion in the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival for 2020, opening 30 June. Enjoy watching from the comfort of your own home, as the Festival will be online this year, with possible screenings scheduled for December.
“From its opening sequence, “D’art” commands your attention with its zappy swing music and montage of fine artist Robert Clinch launching paper darts into the air as collector Jeff Brown puts on a fire retardant suit and whooshes down a racetrack.
You know their two worlds are about to meet. You don’t know how or why but you know it’s going to be a sensational adventure and you want to come along for the ride.
Directed by Karl von Möller, “D’art” raises the bar on what a film about art can be.”