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 […]

Art and Meaning

John Perreault’s popular blog, Artopia, has a recent posting that brings together a disparate variety of themes. Braided into Perreault’s personal ruminations is reference to “Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya”, the aboriginal art show at Grey Gallery (NYU), the “Mandala” show at the Rubin Museum, as well as a discussion of […]

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 […]

Barbara Weir: Grass Seed Dreaming

Barbara Weir is one of my favorite painters. As an aboriginal artist, she approaches her work with a different set of expectations and intentions than is typical in the Western artistic canon. Like other women from her community (including now-deceased Minnie Pwerle, Barbara’s mother, and international art star Emily Kame Kngwarreye), her work is closely […]