Paintings

George Tjungurrayi

08 - 30 July

exhibition essay

George Tjungurrayi is in his seventies now and his current paintings reflect the maturity of his vision and attest to his status as one of Australia?s leading artists.

His recent painting, highly commended in the Wynne Prize at the AGNSW, is a classic example of Tjungurrayi's unmistakable style and one of his most important works to date. It is an iconic painting with the land at its heart. Tjungurrayi merges age old symbols into a unified field of orange energy that commands attention.

The land is an important subject for Australian painters of all persuasions. It is a subject that has a fascination here more than anywhere else in the world.

As a young man George Tjungurrayi gained an intimate association with his country. He learned its rich history back to the ancestors that made it, but Tjungurrayi was also one of the generation that encountered a new society, a new culture and new opportunities.

Tjungurrayi began his painting life assisting the founding masters of the Papunya Tula Artists. He took time before beginning paintings in his own right.

His early paintings were in the classic style of the day, finely dotted works that depicted sites and symbols of the Pintupi tradition, often with a snake winding through the painting.

In the early nineties his work took a dramatic shift. Many of his peers were experimenting with linear pattern in their work, but Tjungurrayi quickly abandoned dots altogether, filling the entire picture plane with nothing but linear pattern. At first clearly Pintupi iconography underpinned the composition but which very quickly became shifting fields where the iconic forms merged into an allover field of sinuous linear pattern. Tjungurrayi had found his voice and never looked back.

 

C.H

George Tjungurrayi is in his seventies now and his current paintings reflect the maturity of his vision and attest to his status as one of Australia?s leading artists.

His recent painting, highly commended in the Wynne Prize at the AGNSW, is a classic example of Tjungurrayi's unmistakable style and one of his most important works to date. It is an iconic painting with the land at its heart. Tjungurrayi merges age old symbols into a unified field of orange energy that commands attention.

The land is an important subject for Australian painters of all persuasions. It is a subject that has a fascination here more than anywhere else in the world.

As a young man George Tjungurrayi gained an intimate association with his country. He learned its rich history back to the ancestors that made it, but Tjungurrayi was also one of the generation that encountered a new society, a new culture and new opportunities.

Tjungurrayi began his painting life assisting the founding masters of the Papunya Tula Artists. He took time before beginning paintings in his own right.

His early paintings were in the classic style of the day, finely dotted works that depicted sites and symbols of the Pintupi tradition, often with a snake winding through the painting.

In the early nineties his work took a dramatic shift. Many of his peers were experimenting with linear pattern in their work, but Tjungurrayi quickly abandoned dots altogether, filling the entire picture plane with nothing but linear pattern. At first clearly Pintupi iconography underpinned the composition but which very quickly became shifting fields where the iconic forms merged into an allover field of sinuous linear pattern. Tjungurrayi had found his voice and never looked back.

 

C.H