Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 02.02.08
La Jolla CA – January 9, 2008 – Molloy Gallery of La Jolla announced today that it will be holding the first major US exhibition of works by renowned Australian Aboriginal artist, Kudditji Kngwarreye (pronounced “koo-ba-gee noo-war-uh”). A satellite exhibition of LA art week, the show will be held January 25-27 in the Marquee Ballroom at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Monica.
Titled ‘Dreamtime’, the exhibition will feature 30 original works by the 80 year-old Kngwarreye, who has never been in a museum but whose art has been compared to Rothko and Frankenthaler, and who was recently proclaimed one of the 50 most collectible artists in Australia.
“There is no doubt that Kudditji is ‘hot’ right now, not only because of his exquisite art, but also his status as an important tribal elder from the Eastern Desert of Australia,” said Peter Molloy, owner and curator of Molloy Gallery. “He is one of the last great masters of the Aboriginal desert art movement.”
Molloy claims to have the largest selection of Kngwarreye’s works outside Australia and suggests the Dreamtime exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a substantial collection of Kngwarreye’s art in North America, while the artist is still living.
About Aboriginal art
Australian Aboriginal art is an international contemporary art movement that has its roots in the central deserts of Australia and began as recently as thirty years ago when Aboriginal tribal elders were introduced to modern acrylic paints and media. They immediately started painting their traditional stories on canvas. Stories previously only painted during rituals as sand mosaics or body art. Stories of a creation epoch they call the ‘Dreamtime’. Stories that carried traditional laws, philosophies and desert survival skills—the cultural bloodline of the oldest society on earth.
What these painted stories gave birth to was an art movement that electrified collectors worldwide and inspired Robert Hughes to describe it as the most important new art movement in the world today. Doubtless the paintings provide an intriguing insight into an important culture on the verge of extinction, but it is the aesthetic and raw power of the works that beckons most collectors, with parallels being drawn from Frankenthaler to Kline, and Minimalist to Abstract Expressionism.
Today, there are an estimated 5,000 Aboriginal artists and for the top echelon, the paintings are hot property, with auction prices growing an estimated 1000% over the last ten years. One major piece by Clifford Possum bought in 1996 for $30,000 sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2007 for over $2 million. And there’s no apparent abatement as the older masters pass on.
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