Thursday, October 22, 2015

Salon 94 Bowery: Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (revised)

Salon 94 presents the first U.S solo exhibition of Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary Aboriginal artists. Born in 1958, Tjapaltjarri and his family, part of the Pintupi Aboriginal tribe, lived a traditional nomadic life as hunter-gatherers. In 1984, Tjapaltjarri and his family were found by chance and caused a media sensation, known in the newspapers as the “last lost tribe.” As Tjapaltjarri and his family were led to the outside society with others of Pintupi community, he was introduced to painting at a community art center of Aboriginal art.

Untitled, 2015
Acrylic on Canvas
96.06 x 72.05 inches

Measuring over 8 ft. tall and 7 ft. wide, the swirling, rope-like lines in Tjapaltjarri’s paintings are hypnotic, creating optical illusions in the way the paintings vibrate and linger both in your head and eyes for a few seconds after looking away. The space is so small, however, that no matter where you turn, you are caught again in the trance. Through the optical intensity of Tjapaltjarri’s paintings, he evokes the landscapes of his home back in the deserts of Western Australia; the undulating swirls and curves vibrate, depicting the shifting movements of the desert sands. Although his paintings are loosely painted in acrylic on canvas, they do not just hang flat on the wall, but feel 3-dimensional as if they are in constant motion in the space as well as, with the viewer.

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