Kathleen Petyarre "My Country - Bush Seeds"


Kathleen began her rise to the world stage with a groundbreaking exhibition at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Flinders Lane, Melbourne on 31 October 1989, supplied and curated by Delmore Gallery. "Aboriginal Art from Utopia" began to put Kathleen Petyarre on the map with her early, powerful paintings on linen. Born in 1944 at Atnangkere, to the northwest of Utopia station, 275 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, Kathleen Petyarre belongs to the Eastern Anmatyerre language group. Kathleen began making artworks in 1977, producing batiks along with a number of the other women at Utopia, when Yipati, a Pitjantjatjara artist from Ernabella and Suzie Bryce, a craft instructor, introduced them to the medium. Later, Jenny Green and Julia Murray would supply materials, training and encouragement. In April 1989, Kathleen took part in the exhibition at the S. H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney, painting on a small masonite board supplied by Rodney Gooch, of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). Also in April 1989, Kathleen asked the Holt family at Delmore to supply her with materials, and began painting with acrylic on canvas, and since then gradually developed her signature styles, refining her technique of layering very fine dots in thin acrylic paint. This pristine, even surface is carefully prepared by the artist, resulting in works of remarkable depth and complexity. Her paintings have been compared to the works of the American artists, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothco. In Europe, Kathleen rapidly became famous when she was collected by Le Louvre (later located in the Musée du quai Branly in Paris). The Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France then purchased a painting, as well as the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands and Sammlung Essl Gallery, Austria.

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