Charmaine Pwerle, 'Awelye'. Acrylic on canvas 90 x 90cms
Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 02.12.11
Gallery: Kate Owen Gallery
Dates: 30.11.11 : 03.12.11
Location: Corner Carr & Byron Streets, Coogee
With just about every Aussie Aboriginal art gallery stocked to the hilt, it's not surprising that Christmas has brought out some novel approaches to clearing the shelves.
I love Muk Muk's idea of offering 12 serious artworks at 50% off prices over its Twelve Days of Christmas promotion. The old master at Coo-ee has commissioned small artworks from a large number of communities to be able to offer slightly bulky stocking-fillers. And the assiduous Kate Owen seems determined to maintain her 'Best Aboriginal Art Gallery in Sydney' reputation (as selected by the Alternative Media Group, which includes her local newspaper, The Inner West Independent) against the rival claims of her Darling Street, Rozelle neighbour, Tali Aboriginal Art Galllery, which came away with 'Best Art Gallery over $5000' in the same generous awards.
In October, Owen opened a Collectors Gallery on the top floor of her Rozelle gallery complex. Here she challenged the faltering auction house system by offering works she rated as "collectible" from the secondary market at prices that didn't reflect the general pessimism in that market. Owen also felt that she was being offered a quality of work that deserved a more generous showing than usual, with stories and histories of artists of such justified reputation as Emily Kngwarreye, Clifford Possum, Turkey Tolson and Mick Namarari.
And she proved her point when a $78,000 Emily from her least appealing Colourist period just flew off the walls. Which suggests that the new gallery could also be a good place to show off the top new works by remote art centre artists, which are normally hard to get hold of for a new institution like Owen's.
Now she's emptying her storeroom at the less ethereal end of the market by holding an auction of her own, over the Bridge in Coogee - the Diggers' Club no less.
The art's there already and the sale is tomorrow (Saturday 3 Dec) at 1pm - preceded by viewing, didgeridu playing and a few tips about the dangerous art of buying at auction! Quality names are here to - from Dorothy Napangardi to Shorty Jangala Robinson, and from Gloria Petyarre to Mitjili Napurrula; and amongst the more than a hundred works are some exciting unknowns such as yet another member of the dynamic Pwerle dynasty - Charmaine.
Kate Owen promises fun, no buyer's premium to pay on top of bid prices, and low reserves.
It could be just the place to find Christmas presents for those hard-to-please rellies!