Japingka Gallery recently received some new work by Utopia artist Jeannie Mills Pwerle. Here David Wroth describes why her best work is so highly regarded.
This is some of the new work of Jeannie Mills Pwerle. It's always exciting to get her most recent paintings into the gallery. We've had these stunning paintings arrive this week in between exhibitions and they caused a bit of a stir.
A Stand Out Utopia Artist
Jeannie Mills Pwerle is a great Utopia painter who paints the Bush Yam, the local name is Anaty.... it's sometimes called pencil yam. This is a long tuber maybe like a carrot, highly valued as a traditional food source, that the women dig up on Utopia homelands.
An Abstract Set of Colours
What Jeannie Mills does with the imagery is what makes it so interesting. She has refined this over many, many years and creates a highly abstracted painting. The works are a series of possibly hundreds of linear shapes representing yams, that abound in colour and each shape is outlined with a row of white dots. The entire painting can be perceived as an abstract set of colours. These colours are what makes the composition and what creates the path for your eyes to travel around the canvas.
Multiple Colours On Each Mark
Each brushstroke created by the artist can have two or three colours on it. Every mark represents Anaty bush yam... there might be hundreds of them on a canvas each one having multiple tones of colour. The total effect of the composition is that you have an amazing array of colours with a diversity of placement of tones.
A Full Spectrum in Resolved Composition
You would think it challenging for any artist to bring this all together in a single composition, but Jeannie's work can achieve that. She creates a large canvas, in this case a 120 cm square painting, which appears to have every colour of the spectrum in there. Colours vary from very dark blues and purples, through to reds, oranges and yellows, pale greens, and even a greyish white.
Her abstract paintings are absolutely full of colour with every mark a blend of multiple colours. The whole canvas has to come together as a single image, one that works through the way blocks of colour appeal to our eye. Sometimes Jeannie limits her colour range as we see in some of her extraordinary blue paintings. While blue might be the dominant colour in it, still we see there are greens and yellows as minor keys in a painting that is overwhelmingly tonal. It draws you into the whole fabric of the surface of the painting, your eyes wandering over the canvas while moving from one area of tonality into another.
My feeling is that these are fabulous abstract paintings. Jeannie has her own Artist page on the Japingka website with examples of work from very small canvases 30 by 30 cm, to larger ones 150 cm and 180 cms across. In every case she seems to have the right formula, the right technique to bring the multiple elements of colour into fantastic compositions.