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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]