In my mind, some of the most important action painting took place not in New York in the 1950's, but right here in a place called Utopia, smack bang in the middle of the Australian Desert.
The artist, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, was to create a body of work during 1991-1996, that would go on to be compared with 20th Century art icons such as Sol Lewitt, Willem DeKooning, and
And yet she came to painting not until she was in her eighties.
The "Old Lady" as she was affectionately called, is recognised as one of the most important contemporary artists of the late 20th Century.
She created masterpieces which depicted her daily life in the
Aboriginal community of Utopia
...in her words, "Awelye (my Dreaming), Arlatyeye (pencil Yam), Arkerrthe (mountain devil lizard), Ankerre (emu), and Kame (yam seed)...That's what I paint, whole lot."
|Emily Kngwarreye 'My Country' 1993|
|Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kngwarreye|
Catalogue of the touring show of 120 masterpieces by Emily shown in Tokyo and Australia
|Emily Kngwarreye 'Bush Yam' 1995|
|Emily Kngwarreye (Body Paint) Yam Dreaming 1995|
|Emily Kngwarreye 'Awelye' 1994|
|Emily Kngwarreye 'Awelye'|
|Emily Kngwarreye Body Paint|
|Emily Kngwarreye Arlatyey Dreaming 1995|
And works from one of Emily's friends, the late Minnie Pwerle show such wonderful vibrancy of balance and colour...
|Minnie Pwerle Awelye 2004|
|Minnie Pwerle Awelye Antwengerrp 2005|
The influences of astonishing works such as these, reverberate far and wide throughout the many areas of our pop culture....
|It's no secret that modern art has been a major influence on many leading edge interior designers including American decorator Kelly Wearstler.|
One of Australia's important abstract painters, Tony Tuckson, also produced a stunning body of work, whilst working as an Art administrator, for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, from the 1950's through to his untimely death in 1973.
Heavily influenced by the international art of his overseas contemporaries, together with his important involvement with Australian Aboriginal Art throughout the 1960's, he also came to showing his art at a late stage in his short life.
He was one of the first to approach Aboriginal artists as artists, concerning himself with documenting their individual styles and intentions, and also highlighting the relationship between tribal art and modern art.
Before his death at the age of 52, he produced these wonderful linear abstractions from the period 1970-1973, these are some of my personal favourites.
|Pink Lines (Vertical) on Red and Purple, 1970-1973|
|White Lines (Vertical) on Ultra-Marine, 1970-73|
|White Lines (Horizontal) on Red, 1970-73|
|Five White Lines (Vertical) Black Ground 1970-73|
|Pink, White Line, Yellow Edge, Red Line Middle. 1970-73|
Words J. Watson-Evans
Aborinal Art images via Contemporary Aboriginal Art by Susan McCullough; Christie's Contemporary Sydney Catalogue 2001; Menzies Art Brands Catalogue 25 March 2009; Christie's Paintings from The Dr Joseph Brown Collection catalogue May 2005; Christie's Aboriginal Art 2005; Australian Art Collector April-June 2005; Modern, Contemporary Australian & Important Aboriginal Art2008 Lawson Menzies
Tony Tuckson images via Tony Tuckson by Daniel Thomas, Renee Free & Geoffrey Legge