Yukultji Napangati - Shimmer

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Yukultji Napangati Shimmer

Yukultji Napangati Shimmer

6 - 27 June, 2020

Utopia Art Sydney has proudly represented the Papunya Tula Artists since 1988. This exhibition is only possible through our shared commitment and the hard work of the whole team. Images courtesy of Papunya Tula Artists.

Š Utopia Art Sydney

Yukultji Napangati Shimmer

Pintupi country encompasses a grand swathe of the Gibson Desert and includes the vast salt lake Wilkinkarra. In this landscape row after row of red sand dunes roll to the horizon, the two communities of Kiwikurra and Kintore are but specks on the map and it’s hard to comprehend the scale. My first visit to Wilkinkarra was at 30,000 ft, crossing the country from Melbourne to Broome. From this eyrie the enormity and endlessness of the space really hit home and the presence of humans in it almost unimaginable. This is Yukultji’s country and you can see and feel it in her paintings. On first glance, the lines in her paintings could easily be interpreted as the sandhills, but Wilkinkarra sometimes fills with water and the wind can set up a swell which in the afternoon catches the light and line after line of glinting ripples set up another possibility. Lines like these are also like those that form the designs for body paint, and when the women dance long bands of parallel lines are often worked into the sand. Thus the references are layered and many. The snaking heat waves rising from the desert floor always comes to me when I look at Yukultji’s work and brings back vivid memories of the intense dry heat, and it is this vision that is all powerful in the larger canvasses. These fields of colour, crafted from line after line of little dots, shimmer. From a distance they look like an intense all over glow and it’s only on approach that the myriad tiny marks appear and the subtleties of the overall surface are revealed. From apparent emptiness comes layer upon layer of detail. Painting these pictures takes time and to maintain the intensity and consistency over that time is not easy. These are exquisitely crafted works, from the first layer of sinuous lines a pulse begins as the thick and thin of each line creates the thick and thin of every space between. The next dotted layer is in multiple bands and in each band each dot sequence shifts as the paint load in the brush decreases with every run.

Wilkinkarra from the air

In some works the thick and thin of the paint consistency adds another element of transparency and then, of course, there is the colour. Here, Yukultji employs combinations that really give every picture a unique mood. Careful colour choices and a strong structure combine to give her paintings a strength only intensified by the fine detail of her dotted surface. Yukultji Napangati walked out of this desert in1984. She lived her youth roaming the Pintupi lands, learning the stories, learning how to survive, observing the landscape in detail and committing to memory everything required to be a part of this land. She began her painting life as a young woman in the company of some very experienced artists who knew all about painting in acrylic on linen, and who understood all about the contemporary art world. In many ways her art career was very normal, trained by practicing artists, participating in group exhibitions, and gradually developing her own voice. She was fortunate as she was there just as the women of the Papunya Tula Artists began to emerge as the new force from the desert in the mid 1990’s, and was able to learn and develop in their good company. The group exhibition ‘Family’ at Utopia Art Sydney introduced her as a serious new artist, and her first public break came when she was selected for Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2005. This showcase of new young talent launched her broader public presence, but it was her solo exhibition in 2014 that confirmed her place as one of the leading artists of her generation. Gradually her work entered our public institutions and collectors in Australia and abroad focussed on her work. Her solo show with Salon 94 in New York in 2019 signalled the start of the next phase of her career as she joined an elite group of Australian artists taking a place in the international art context. Yukultji today is well travelled, and well aware of the place her work holds. Her history, her lived experience and her country all inform her work but it is her paintings that are doing the talking. Christopher Hodges, 2020

Cat. 1, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on linen, 183 x 244 cm

Cat. 2, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on linen, 183 x 244 cm

Cat. 3, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on linen, 153 x 122cm

Cat. 4, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on linen, 153 x 122cm

Cat. 5, Untitled, 2020, acrylic on linen, 153 x 122cm

Cat. 6, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on linen, 183 x 153 cm

Cat. 7, Untitled, 2020, acrylic on linen, 153 x 122cm

Yukultji Napangati Biography

Yukultji Napangati Biography

Born circa 1971 near Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay), Western Australia Lives and works in Kiwirrkurra Solo Exhibitions 2020 2019 2014

Shimmer, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW Yukultji Napangati, Salon94 New York, USA Yukultji Napangati, Utopia Atr Sydney, NSW


Selected Group Exhibitions 2020, 15, 12, 10, 09, 06, 03 NAATSIA, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 2019-20 ‘Am Anfang War Das Land’, Sammlung Klein; Germany 2019 ‘Desert Painters of Australia’, Gagosian New York, USA and Los Angeles, USA 2018 ‘Primavera at 25: MCA Collection’ Touring exhibition of regional galleries 2018, 17, 16, 14, 13, 11 ‘Wynne Prize’, AGNSW 2017 ‘Who’s afraid of colour’ NGV, Melbourne, VIC 2016-18 ‘Marking the Infinite’, Frost Art Museum, Miami; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Newcomb Art Museum, New Orleans; The Phillips Collection, Washington DC; and Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver. 2015 ‘Painting from Papunya Tula Artists’, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, NSW 2013 ‘No Boundaries’, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre, VIC


2010 2008



‘Crossing Cultures’, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA ‘Volume One: MCA Collection’, MCA, Sydney, NSW ‘Ancestral Modern – Aboriginal Art from the Levi Kaplan Collection,’ Seattle Art Museum, USA ‘The 37th Alice Prize’, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT ‘Unique Perspectives: Papunya Tula Artists and the Alice Springs Community’, Araluen Arts Centre, NT ‘Sonic Spheres’, TarraWarra Biennial, TarraWarra Museum of Art, VIC ‘Papunya Tula: Works on Paper’, AGNSW Sydney, NSW ‘Papunya Tula Women’s Art’, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, NSW ’40 years of Papunya Tula Artists’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award 2011’, Fremantle, WA ‘Wilkinkarralakutu – Journeys To Lake Mackay’, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin, NT ‘Licht in der Wuste: Aboriginal Art aus der Central und Western Desert’, Artkelch at Lichthaus Kirchner, Germany ‘20 Years of Papunya Tula Artists’, Utopia Art Sydney, NSW ‘Home Ground’, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts - UNSW ‘Land Marks’, NGV, Melbourne, VIC ‘Right Here, Right Now: Recent Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Acquisitions’, NGA, Canberra, ACT ‘Primavera ‘05 - exhibition by young Australian artists’, MCA, Australia, NSW

Biography - continued



‘Mythology & Reality’, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, VIC ‘Looking Closely At Country’, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney, NSW ‘Talking About Abstraction’, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney, NSW ‘The Inner and the Outer’, Stadtgalerie Bamberg, Villa Dessauer, Bamberg, Germany ‘Musee des Beaux Arts et d’Archeologie de Vienne, France

Awards 2018 2013, 11 2012

Winner ‘Wynne Prize’, AGNSW Highly Commended ‘Wynne Prize’, AGNSW Winner, ‘The Alice Prize’

Collections Artbank Art Gallery of New South Wales Art Gallery of South Australia Griffith University Art Collection Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., USA Hood Museum of Art, USA Levi Kaplan Collection, USA Macquarie Group Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia National Gallery of Australia National Gallery of Victoria Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA

Yukultji Napangati

6 - 27 June, 2020

Utopia Art Sydney 983 Bourke St Waterloo NSW 2017, Sydney Australia Telephone: + 61 2 9319 6437 email: art@utopiaartsydney.com.au www.utopiaartsydney.com.au

Utopia Art Sydney 983 Bourke St Waterloo NSW 2017, Sydney Australia Telephone: + 61 2 9619 6437 email: art@utopiaartsydney.com.au www.utopiaartsydney.com.au