An Exaltation of Barks

Aboriginal Art Directory | 29.06.08

Author: Will Owen
News source: Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American eye

Blogger Will Owen writes about the They Are Meditating: Bark Paintings from the Museum of Contemporary Art's Arnott's Collection exhibition.

Quoted from the post:

The book's back matter includes excellent maps that locate the many communities from which these barks were collected, along with a thumbnail presentation of the works in the show. It is here that the reader must turn for detailed information about the artists, their dates, and their countries of origin. And as you browse these pages, don't neglect to turn the page after you've reviewed the two Wadeye paintings. For there, at the very end, are four small barks from the Tiwi Islands that are otherwise overlooked in the catalog.

The surprising discovery of these tiny masterpieces at the very end of the book brought home to me one more time the particular genius of Jerome Gould as a collector. Although he clearly had favorites among the artists whose work he went after, it is the breadth of his interest that informs this exhibition and that makes its presentation in this comprehensive show so important. Although missions had been selling bark paintings for decades, the presence in Arnhem Land in the 60s of men like Gould, Kupka, and Ruhe must have had a tremendously stimulating effect on the painter's output and the richness and excitement of that period shines through the pages of this catalog.


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Contact Details

Gallery: Museum of Contemporary Art
Contact: Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs
Telephone: +61 2 9245 2400
Address: Circular Quay West George Street The Rocks Sydney 2000 NSW



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