Bedford Station by Rover Thomas
Ngarrk Ngarrk by Alan Joshua Jr
It is the painting of country. It’s got Boab trees, it’s got a kangaroo, the rock formations, birds flying in the sky. It’s slightly naïve yet also so sophisticated. It uses very strong, bright, primary colours. It immediately caught my eye, and I am still really drawn to it.
Ngarrk Ngarrk is not a big painting – it’s 88 centimetres by 59 centimetres. It’s a painting that is slightly haunting, it just always stays with you.
Gurindji Mirrwula by Sarrita King
The other painting which really had a profound impact upon me was one of the main artists that we represent and exhibit very frequently. She’s a close friend and colleague, Sarrita King. She’s one of the younger emerging artists but has already made an amazing name, world-wide and reputation for herself. She’s exhibited in Berlin and Paris, Singapore. She’s a delight to work with. Like all the best artists, she doesn’t stand still. Her work continues to evolve.
One of the paintings that particularly caught my eye in this year’s exhibition was a painting called Gurindji Mirrwula. It’s a very, very subtle painting. It’s beautiful. It’s like a painting underneath another painting.
Awely (Body Paint) by Susan Pitjara Hunter
It’s quite a large work, measuring 180 centimetres by 180 centimetres. It’s incredibly finely worked. Unlike most Utopia paintings, it’s not very fine dots but rather very, very fine lines with just subtle changes in colour that radiate across the painting. Really, the talent of this artist and the patience and the skill are just staggering. The painting is unforgettable, and continues to draw the eye of anyone who visits the gallery, who are all of them staggered by the talent of this particular artist and the effect of this painting on your heart when you look at this painting. It is remarkable.
Wiyini Jilamara – Leaves Bodypainting Design by Maria Josette Orsto
One of the other memorable paintings from our exhibition programme this year comes from our work with Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island, which is North of Darwin. Tiwi Design is an Indigenous owned and run art centre. It is known for some beautiful cross-hatch designs, and renowned for its wooden sculptures which are painted in ochre pigments. All of the paintings are also done in ochre pigments. Their paintings are usually very well observed images of animals, sea life, totems and birds. They are very distinctive and couldn’t come from anywhere else.
With this exhibition, we featured one of the emerging artists from that community, Maria Josette Orsto. She has a unique style in that she works in ochre pigments. She works on canvases as well as barks and sculptures. In this particular instance, what took my eye was one of her paintings. Maria paints with a comb like wooden object. She can apply five or six dots on the canvas at a single time, so you don’t so much have the cross-hatching but you have the dotting technique which just fills up this complex pattern.