I was lucky enough to catch the last day of this Aboriginal artist’s exhibit at the Contemporary Museum of Art in Sydney, Australia (because I skipped the closing ceremony at the Critical Link conference, oops). But what I saw instead!
My favorite works: Merrewoon County (waterhole), Janterrji (Dolly Hole 2003), and Lightening Creek (2004). Just enough time has passed (since I was physically there, on 15 April) that I’m not sure of all the cryptic arrows in my notes, but it seems that Merrewoon Country is about the spearing of the crocodile. My favorite is Boonoonggoowirrin, (lower left image), “which invites us to think about how we perceive the world.” I sat a long time absorbing the play of perspective in this piece.
There were paintings about the Emu Dreaming Cycle (how day and night were created), and a few of Mt. King, depicting a “complex web of relations.” I was especially intrigued by the fact that Aboriginals conceive of time in spatial terms:
“The interrelationship between painting, country, and dreamings…is complex. Time is not conceived in a linear way, as in Western culture, but spatially, incorporating memory, tradition, history, and contemporary activities and events with the rhythms of the land, through changing seasons and conditions, providing an underlying structure. Ancestral beings formed the features of the land and are embodied in them, continuing to effect the present. The stories of these traveling beings and t heir relations to particular sties are evoked in painting, which renews and regenerates the connection of artist to country.” (From the audiopresentation accompanying Paddy Bedford’s exhibit.)
More paintings are on exhibit at Mora Galleries, Raft Artspace, Artdaily.org, Art Right Now2, and there is an exhibition catalogue. (I can wander among these for a long time!
There are some stunning black-and-white photos of the artist and others at Monsoon Australia.
This color photo shows a man upon whom the world has etched itself deeply.
(I sent a bunch of these gorgeous giftcards around.)