In 1998 Utopia Community member and Director of DACOU, Fred Torres, approached several family members and leading Utopia artists about being involved in a works on paper project. The majority of the subsequent work is held in Fred Torres’ private collection and three of these works will now be shown for the first time in this exciting exhibition offering a rare treat for art collectors.
Gloria Petyarre’s depiction of the awelye (women's ceremony) in her Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming documents her earlier linear style. Powerful in its bold simplicity and graphic quality it was painted using ochre coloured tones set against a stark white background.
The other two early works on paper are by the important elders, Lindsay Bird and the late Greeny Petyarre. Confidently executed, these brightly coloured works of pastel on paper depict men’s ceremonial designs associated with Lindsay and Greeny’s cultural positions as senior law men in their country of Alhalkere. Today, these works constitute the only known pastels on paper produced by Aboriginal artists in Utopia.
Representative of the next chapter in expressionist art from Utopia are paintings on paper by the late Minnie Pwerle's two youngest sisters, Emily and Galya Pwerle. Both finalists in the 2012 Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery National Works on Paper Award exhibition, their respective paintings entitled Awelye Atnwengerrp are included in this exhibition. Their nieces, Katie and Janie Petyarre Morgan have also produced fascinating depictions of their Bush Orange Dreaming with fine dot work meticulously applied on paper. Katie’s small piece bursting with vibrant energy and technical finesse, echoes the style of her award winning painting Bush Orange Dreaming, which secured her the 2012 City of Hobart Art Prize in October.
An exhibition highlight is a work by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Australia’s most important female artist. Very few of Emily’s works on paper remain commercially available. Body Paint, confirms Emily Kngwarreye’s artistic status as a distinguished and highly original painter of the Australian landscape. Her yellow and charcoal brush strokes are akin to the traditional ochre and charcoal used by the Utopia women when painting each other up for awelye (Women’s Ceremony).
An opportunity to see works on paper by the artists of Utopia, the exhibition will be on view until Sunday December 16th, 2012