Ian Plunkett shares his thoughts about a special painting that has just come back from France.
Recently I was talking about paintings coming back into the gallery. These are works that we sold several years ago. It's always great to see an old friend come back, especially special paintings like this Queenie McKenzie painting. It would be in the top three or four paintings that I've seen by Queenie and it's a classic painting by her. It's of her traditional homelands and country around Texas Downs up in the Kimberley.
Just like most of her paintings, it is painted in traditional, natural ochre pigments and it even has a bit of her, I guess, hallmark colour of pinkish hue to some of the ochres as well which she was renowned for.
We had Queenie visit the gallery several times when she was still alive and painting. It was a real honour to meet her. She always had such integrity and passion about her culture and her artwork. She was forever teaching younger people, whether they be Indigenous or otherwise, how to paint and the stories behind her painting.
She enjoyed promoting her culture and it was a big strength and one of the main reasons she painted. She loved painting, but what she liked, even more, was telling the stories behind the paintings.
This particular painting has been to France. It was sold quite a few years ago but the person who bought it is now downsizing. They've sent it back to us to sell for them. It's a real privilege to have it back in the gallery. As you can see, it's a stunning artwork. It's just beautiful.
Queenie had an innate ability when it comes to composition, especially with her intuitive use of colour and working in ochres. You don't have a great range of colours and sometimes that can work against you. That was never a problem for Queenie.
This may be a typical painting by her but it is one in which all the elements come together so well. I believe it's one of the best four or five paintings that she ever did.
See more: Queenie McKenzie Paintings