In this article, Ian Plunkett from Japingka Gallery talks about Timo Hogan's masterpiece which features in the latest exhibition from the The Spinifex Arts Project.
This painting is from the Spinifex Arts Project. We've been representing this group of artists just over 18 years now. It's been a real privilege representing them because their paintings have absolute integrity and honesty about them. They're not painted for a market. They are painted to tell the stories about their ties to the land, which is their traditional country. They're explaining their knowledge of that land. Indeed, their first site painting was created in order to fulfil a land rights claim, which was successful. They were the first group to ever be granted native title. These artists started painting in order to document their ancient ties to the land.
This painting is really different from that original work. For a start, the Spinifex paintings are usually colourful. This work reminds me a little bit of the famous Rover Thomas who came from a very different region up in the Kimberly. This work could almost be painted in natural ochre pigments, but it isn't, it's painted in acrylics. This is a major artwork by Timo Hogan, and we are thrilled to have it in this exhibition.
A few years ago, we started getting the first works by this artist. They were mostly of the Serpent story and Lake Baker, which is a salt lake up near his country. I'd first become acquainted with Lake Baker when another very highly acclaimed Spinifex artist, Carlene West. She was producing seemingly abstract paintings of the salt lake. They just hit a note in the art market, and we couldn't get enough of them. She was never prolific, but all her work sold.
Timo came along and impressed us right from the start. He's a fully initiated man. He knows this country inside out. He started painting that country in a way that was slightly more tentative but did reflect Carlene West's depiction to a certain degree. He brought something else to it again. He brings to the table his own take on it. This painting is not only powerful but also profound. Even the spaces where nothing's happening carry such presence. It's so cohesive. It has a surface tension you wouldn't expect. It's telling a story.
This painting, to me, is a masterwork. It is an exceptional piece, and it's been a joy watching this artist's career development to the point where he's producing a major painting like this. It is nearly three metres across and would grace any big room or office or foyer, or even a major museum collection. It is a cracker. We weren't surprised when it was bought by someone representing a major collector. The agent agreed with us that this artist is someone with a great future.