Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri makes his debut in New York - Art Collector

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Untitled, 2015. Acrylic paint on canvas. 96.06 × 72.05 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Salon 94 Bowery, New York.

By Jess Holburn

September brings many firsts into the New York art scene foray. Salon 94 just opened the first United States solo exhibition of Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, one of Australia’s most highly regarded contemporary Aboriginal artists and a leading figure of the Aboriginal Australian painting movement. Optical, swirling dots animate the canvases in their earthy colours, symbolic of the desert lands belonging to his Pintupi kin in Australia’s Western Desert. Influenced by artists George Tjungurayi and Tjampu Tjapaltjarri, and inspired by Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay): a vast glistening expanse spanning 1,350 square miles between the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts of Western Australia, it is acknowledged that this is a site of particular significance in the journeys of the Tingari, a group of ancestral beings who performed many rituals and created many sacred sites.

Warlimpirrnga, considered a powerful maparntjarra (ritual healer) and authority within the Pintupi, produced his first painting in April 1987. His first 11 works were exhibited in Melbourne at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in 1988, with the entire body being acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. His work is represented in other major collections around the world, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, Toledo Art Museum in Ohio and Harvard Art Museums, Massachusetts. In 2008 he was featured in the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and in 2012 his work was included in dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany. His work can also be viewed in the touring exhibition No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australia Contemporary Abstract Painting, which runs at the Perez Art Museum Miami from September 19, 2015 to January 3, 2016.

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Maparntjarra, is on view at Salon 94 Bowery through to 24 October 2015.

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