• Aboriginal art
  • Ancestral Modern

    Walu, 2008, Tommy Mitchell On display at the Seattle Art Museum: an extraordinary (as in EXTRAORDINARY) exhibit of contempoary aboriginal art. Mostly paintings, the show has been assembled from the collection of a Seattle couple, Robert Kaplan and Margaret Levi. Some of my favorite aboriginal painters are well represented— Emily Kam Kngwarray, Wimmitji Tjapangarti, Doreen […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • I Feel You

    Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Linear Minnie Pwerle, Bush Melon Seed It is in the nature of an artist to look for commonalities between contemporary concepts of form and those of ancient or indigenous cultures. Brahms and Schubert wandered the countryside listening to and absorbing native, folk and gypsy musical idioms, incorporating many of those traditions into […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Other Worlds

    Warren Burger, by George Augusta My friend Carl Belz has written about his encounters with portrait art while heading up the Rose Museum at Brandeis a few years back. He was asked to recommend a portrait painter for the retiring chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. ” I immediately suggested Andy Warhol,” Belz writes, […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Icons of the Desert

    Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi’s “Mystery Sand Mosaic”, 1974 (Photo: Grey Gallery) Ken Johnson of the New York Times recently wrote a review of the show, “Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings From Papunya” currently on view at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. I haven’t seen the show yet but will be down […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • More on Abstraction and Nature

    Rock and fungi, Tasmania, 2007 Two of the comments to my earlier post, Threading through Abstraction, Micro and Macro, came in from Down Under. Both of these writers offered a thoughtful expansion of the discussion I began in my post. My experience is that this issue of nature and abstraction has particular significance in the […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Spaciality and Language

    Aboriginal rock painting, Kakadu, Aust. Credit: Thomas Schoch As a follow on to my earlier post on human spaciality, Stanford assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience, and symbolic systems Lera Boroditsky has written a piece on Edge that explores how individual languages shape the way speakers think about space, time, colors and objects. She demonstrates that […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Breasts, Bodies, Canvas

    I found a wonderful blog about all things Aboriginal–Will Owen’s Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American eye. He’s been at it for some time, so there is a lot of material to review and well worth the time. In a recent posting Owen reviews a new book by Jennifer Biddle, Breasts, Bodies, Canvas: Central Desert […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • The Body, and Beyond

    One more excerpt from Fred Myers’ Painting Culture: Myers highlights the distinctions between the paintings of the Pintupi tribe and the art from Balgo, just south of the Pintupi land: Pintupi culture valorizes some dimensions of painting–a painting’s truth in relation to the Dreaming, the right of expression as part of one’s identity–but gives no […]