The Finkelstein Files: The Art of the Sell



Abstract Expressionist painter, Thierry B, in his Huntingdale studio, Summer 2018.

Thierry B, Everlast, 2018, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, P.O.A

Thierry B, Embers Alight, 2018, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, P.O.A

Welcome to 2018 – the year of expansion always, in all ways! If 2017, was all about completing cycles – then 2018 is all about starting afresh from a position of strength. Passion, hard work, commitment and an obvious love for what we do best – makes us one of the busiest commercial art galleries in Melbourne, if not Australia.

With the news that stalwart, and second generation dealer, Rob Gould has finally closed shop mid December 2017, leaving many artists in freefall. With disenfranchised vendors & creditors owed substantial amounts of money by Mossgreen auction houses, who is left no longer in the red??? Countless galleries have closed their doors –  leaving artists wondering if this is the final death knell of the gallery model which has existed for so many decades.

We are proud to report that our gallery continues to flourish and grow incrementally every quarter. We measure our success with sales, particularly repeat sales – where our customers trust us to assist them in the process of connecting and acquiring new works for their growing collections. The middle market is far from dead, or sluggish – ask us how many paintings we have sold in the past 2 weeks since we re-opened and we will need both hands! Testament to our success is these repeat clients who are more than happy to refer their family and closest friends ÷to a service which remains unrivalled by any other gallery in town.


Thierry B, Euphoria Series – Blanc, 2018, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

Thierry B’s loyal clientele, return with new briefs for their home, work & holiday spaces – ready to once again experience the Thierry B effect he is famous for. If you have yet to have Thierry B wave his magic in your direction, I suggest you take his complimentary consultation to have him review and recommend what will work well for your space.

Scoping a space provides the client with invaluable information from an expert eye which will inform and impact your space – acting as an anchor. Many clients make the mistake of erring on the side of caution, often selecting a painting which is too small to create the wow factor they are looking for. His turn-key solution includes custom framing, delivery and installation to exhibit your newly acquired painting in its best possible light.

Gifting a frame for the art work is our way of expressing our gratitude for giving us your business – with the painting installed and professionally finished, in its pride of place. Communication is a key element in the success of Thierry B Fine Art. It is tantamount that the client establishes and defines resonance with a painting from the get-go. Intuition is encouraged in the process – as the ‘love at first sight’ connection often rings true!

 

Thierry B, Mink, 2017, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, P.O.A

 

Thierry B explains the art of zen; “My work is all about introducing the joy of colour into our lives, often seen here through cross-sections which challenge your spatial perception. The vibrancy of hue and curvilinear forms in repetition create a dynamic feast for the eye, where they are in constant motion. Energy maps a pathway for our eyes and hearts to meld.” – Abstract Expressionist painter, Thierry B.

 


Thierry B, Relying on Each Other, 2017, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 183cm, P.O.A

Thierry B, Summer Escape, 2018, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

Thierry B, Etheric Exposure, 2018, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

 

I am eternally an optimist as is Thierry B – how many Abstract painters can confidently say, their oeuvre encompasses 17 different styles available to his clientele?! So much of his abstract art can be traced and talked about in terms of intention. The use of repetition in mark making, draws the viewer into the picture plane. It may be seen as metaphor for making his mark upon the world on a physical scale. Lyrical and delicate imagery, these fluid shapes transform spaces they inhabit. Hypnotic and healing, many of  Thierry B’s series have been widely collected and photographed in private collections across Australia and overseas.

Thierry B Fine Art website offers a stockroom to view, interiorpages with the paintings installed into their new homes, in addition to a testimonial page which sounds positively smarmy – every word is true!!! We look forward to welcoming you into our bespoke gallery space, complete with oversize stockroom for your viewing pleasure.

The gallery is located @ 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra & open Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm & Sunday 12pm – 5pm or by appointment.

Vicki xx

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The Finkelstein Files: A Few of My Favourite Things!!!



In the last post for the year, 2017 has been a rollercoaster ride for many.

I for one, am looking forward to a complete summer break with my favourite little peeps, my twin 8 year old’s.

 It’s all about having fun and being in the moment, taking our time, and few plans except soaking up the much-needed sunshine and feeling the sand between our toes in between bouts of body surfing.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Thierry B Fine Art‘s valued clientele for their ongoing support throughout 2017.

We’d also like to thank our behind-the scenes-colleagues who logistically make it all possible to keep up the pace, as one of Australia’s busiest commercial art galleries.

Here are a few of my favourite things below!!!


 

As we countdown the last 6 days until we close the gallery for our break, our gallery hours include Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm & Sunday 12pm – 5pm or by appointment. Re-opening the 15th January, if you are in town come by and check out our new stockroom full of beautiful paintings.

Have a happy holiday with your loved ones of near and far, and return next year in good health, ready for an even bigger and better 2018!!

Lots of love, Thierry & Vicki

The Finkelstein Files: Monochromatic Schematic

With art we travel. What leads us to search out meaning for the walls of our inner harbours and our exterior retreats? What combination of space, surface and colour lead us to a feeling of extended openness, of belonging to our surroundings, of expansion of space and the glimmer of inexplicable lightness.

As we travel through architectural spaces, designed places – the search for the spontaneous and the desirable, and at times the spiritual, can often be mirrored in how we choose to demarcate our ideologies of place.

Pictured here is abstract artist, Wilson Lin working in his Huntingdale studio, alongside mentor, Thierry B. Originally born in Taiwan, Lin’s paintings have been exhibited in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as represented in Melbourne at Thierry B Fine Art over the past five years. A student of Thierry B’s, Wilson shares studio space in Huntingdale with him, learning to focus his creativity from a Zen perspective, Buddhist in essence. The pattern-making and repetition of line in his works create a vortex and restful space for the viewer all at once. Lin’s paintings are now highly sought after and collected Australia wide and gaining notoriety internationally.

 

Above: Thierry B mentors Abstract artist Wilson Lin in the Huntingdale studio, Melbourne.

 

Above: Wilson Lin, A Glimmering Sheet, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, P.O.A

Above: Wilson Lin, Silver Lining, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 122cm, P.O.A

Sculpture pictured by Lachlan Ross, Eternity, 2016,  Stainless Steel on wooden plinth, P.O.A

Above: Thierry B, Contrast, 2016, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 183cm, P.O.A

Thierry B explains the art of zen; “My work is all about introducing the joy of colour into our lives, often seen here through cross-sections which challenge your spatial perception. The vibrancy of hue and curvilinear forms in repetition create a dynamic feast for the eye, where they are in constant motion. Energy maps a pathway for our eyes and hearts to meld.” – Thierry B, July 2015.


Above: Thierry B, Euphoria Series – Blanc, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 152 x 152cm, P.O.A

 


Above: Prolific Abstract Expressionist painter,  Thierry B in his studio, Huntingdale Melbourne.

Paintings by Thierry B emphasise free, spontaneous, and personal emotional expression. They exercise a freedom of technique and execution to attain this goal, with a emphasis laid on the exploitation of the variable physical character of paint to evoke expressive qualities. Sensuous, dynamic and lyrical. They show similar emphasis on the unstudied and intuitive application of that paint in a form of psychic improvisation. Akin to the automatism, with the intent of expressing the force of the creative unconscious in art. They display the abandonment of conventionally structured composition built up out of discrete and segregable elements and their replacement with a single unified, undifferentiated field, network, or other image that exists in unstructured space. And finally, the paintings fill large canvases to give these aforementioned visual effects both monumentality and engrossing power.

 

Above: Lily Kelly Napangati, Tuli Tuli (Sand Dunes) 2017, Acrylic Paint on Linen, 122 x 212cm, P.O.A

Lily Kelly Napangati is a highly esteemed artist recognised for her contribution to contemporary aboriginal artwork. With a talent for intricate detail, Lily has captivated audiences with her interpretations of the shifting seasons and changing country.This painting depicts the Tali Tali, (Sand Hills) around the artists traditional country located around Mt.Liebig, Haasts Bluff, Papunya and Kintore. The dotting represents the shifting sands and landscape. This is where Lily’s ancestors lived, hunted and gathered food. Ceremonies would be performed at sacred creation sites where young women would learn the mythology of how the land was formed and the creeks, plants and animals came into being.



Above: Belle magazine features a glamorous interior by David Hicks revealing Thierry B’s sonambulistic Euphoria series in wistful white. Measuring 183 x 183cm the painting offers a strong anchor point for this pied-de-terre in Melbourne (see page 114, Aug/Sept Belle Magazine). The Euphoria series has been part of Thierry B’s oeuvre and regularly requested by loyal clientele for busy boardrooms and home interiors alike for close to fifteen years.

Above: Jane Valentine, Shielding I, II, III, Statuario Marble, 100 (h) x 90 (w) x 25 (d) cm, P.O.A

One of the earliest art forms, sculpture still carries the imprint of artisan knowledge passed down through centuries. Yet while Valentine’s practice honours and continues many traditional methods, she is very much a 21st-century practitioner, excited by technology and operating globally, sourcing her materials, her working spaces and conversations all over the world. “I work with whatever technology I can take; and I work some pieces just by hand. That’s amazing – and even more beautiful when you’re working more intuitively and you don’t know what the end product is going tobe.” Now, she says, working like that is “something that I give myself as a gift”. “Part of my artistic practice tries to get to the essence of things and that’s often a pure, fragile, feminine essence.”

There’s a famous Michelangelo quote about the statue concealed in each block of vstone and the sculptor’s task of revealing it. In Valentine’s concentration as she listens – leaning in to catch anything obscured beneath the stones of a conversation’s words – you sense the focus with which she seeks out her marble and its internal potential. “It’s better to go when it’s just been raining and there’s early morning light,” she saysof these excursions. “You have to tap marble, it sings, so you’re looking for the appropriate pitch.” All in a days work for widely collected and revered sculptor, Jane Valentine.

As potential collector and client of Thierry B Fine Art, we are excited to offer Autralia-wide complimentary delivery to your home or business address. To place your order, email art@thierrybfineart.com or call directly on: +613 9827 7756. Thierry B Fine Art is located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment: 0404 861 438.

The Finkelstein Files: The Winds of Change

I love it when the spring shifts ever so slightly into summery mode. If you are based in Melbourne, Australia – you may also have taken note & fished out your sandals last week when the mercury hit 31 degrees two days, back-to-back. Alas, as optimistic as even the most seasoned veteran of our blink-and -you’ll-miss- it weather down south, we are back to halcyon high-wind days filled with woeful hay fever and awful allergies fluttering through our day.

Summer, where are you?? Please hurry! We miss you and want you back!

Above: Thierry B, On The Rise, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 183 x 152cm, P.O.A.

Michelle Breton, Honey Dreaming, Mixed media on Canvas, 137 x 153cm, P.O.A


Above: Patricia Heaslip, Landlines, Oil on Canvas, 183 x 183cm, P.O.A

 

Above: Thierry B, Satisfaction, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm, P.O.A.

Even As I thumb through my latest novel, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti, I am willing the weather toward sunshiney days/daze:

“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.”

Above: Thierry B, Submerged, Synthetic Polymer Paint On Linen 184 x 153 cm,  P.O.A

Above: Thierry B, Effervescence, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen,  122 x 168cm, P.O.A

Above: Michelle Breton Trompette au Soleil, Mixed Media on Canvas, 153 x 137cm, P.O.A

I also feel I need to tell you that I started the day by ordering at my local cafe Mr.Brightside a plate of summer! I couldn’t go past their special menu which had got a little summer make over today. This is Challah French Toast with raspberry mascarpone, fresh berries and maple. Never one to do things half-heartedly, I added a berry smoothy in for good measure! So delicious. Now all we need are some seriously good sunsets beachside , with some Frose or Negroni spritzers & we’re talking!!

Inspired by this sunset snap last week (above), I throw it out to the weather gods that be – summer where for art thou?!! If I cannot bask in the light of a shimmering summer day, than I will go in search of finding other ways to bring the energy inwards – paintings perform this function. They engage and enliven a previously empty space, lending it life and an anchor for your gaze. Take a closer look at the new offerings by Australian talent we have in the gallery stockroom now to view.

Above: Michelle Breton, Octobre a Ceret, Mixed Media on Canvas, 152 x 137cm, P.O.A

Patricia Heaslip, The Essences, Oil On Canvas, 152.5 x 106 cm, P.O.A.

Patricia Heaslip, Fortitude, Oil On Canvas, 183 x 183cm, P.O.A.

Above: Michelle Breton, Rising Candy, Mixed Media on Canvas, 183 x 152cm, P.O.A

As potential collector and client of Thierry B Fine Art, we are excited to offer Autralia-wide complimentary delivery to your home or business address. To place your order, email art@thierrybfineart.com or call directly on: +613 9827 7756. Thierry B Fine Art is located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment: 0404 861 438.

Thierry B Fine Art: 13 Reasons Why Original Art In The Home Is As Important As A Bed


Above: Patricia Heaslip, Ether, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Residence, Malvern, Australia.

13 REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?”

Above: Patricia Heaslip, Untitled, Oil on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Residence, Brighton, Australia.

1. Creates Mood 

Brain scans have revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers desire, pleasure, and romantic love. Romantic, sublime landscapes provoke contemplation of nature and purity. Such works then create a mood of peace and are good for relaxation rooms such as the bedroom.

Above: Michael Whitehead, Ever After, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Linen, 80 x 270cm, Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.

2. Adds Personal Character to the Home 

We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, social media – the list goes on! Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic and aesthetic interests in a way different from most, for original artworks are one of a kind.

Above: (left) Phonsay, Under My Umbrella, (right) Bubble Gum Dream, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 122cm, Private Residence, South Yarra, Australia.

3. Makes Memories

Buying an original work of art is an experience. For whatever reason, you were drawn to a specific piece (or multiple). You may have seen it at a show opening, had a nice trip to the ice cream shop before hand. Whatever happened leading up to/during/after the purchase of a meaningful original work will be remembered every time you see it. This will not happen with a poster from Ikea.

Above: Thierry B, Darwinism Series, Triptych, Synthetic Polymer paint on Line,  183 x 152cm x 3 panels. Private Rseidence, Caulfield, Australia.

4. Provides a Colour Palette 

When rooms have a lot of colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can become overwhelming. An original work of art is a beautiful, meaningful way to tie everything together and create a general focal point.

Above: Thierry B, Next Chapter, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm, Private Collection, South Yarra, Australia.

5. Makes a Room Feel Finished 

When walls are empty, a room does not necessarily look bad, but by no means does it look finished. Rooms with empty walls are functional rooms in a house. Rooms with original art work are comfortable rooms in a home.

Above: Michelle Breton, Untitled, Mixed Media on Canvas, 152 x 152cm, Private Residence, Kooyong, Australia. Styling: Lisa Gole Interiors.

6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity 

This one is simple – in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking. This idea is expanded on in reason 11.

Above: Justin Audrins, Talking Heads, Oil on Canvas, 137.5 x 198cm. Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.

7. Conversation Starter 

As mentioned in reason 2, hanging original art in your home is a way of expressing oneself. That being said, guests will always be curious about the choice of artwork, the story, have questions about the artist, etc. It is a way to show off your art collection while having passionate conversations with house guests.

Above: Thierry B, Euphoria Series, Synthetic Polymer paint on Linen, 183 x 183cm. Private Residence, Melbourne, Australia. Styling: David Hicks Design.

8. Supports Artists 

One of the most important things about buying original artwork is that you are supporting an artist’s career. Each time you have a look at a work in your home, it provides a feel-good emotion that you are assisting an artist in achieving the success and recognition they deserve.

Above: Michael Whitehead, Things Forgotten, Synthetic Polymer Paint & Mixed Media on Canvas, 120 x 150cm.

9. It is an Investment 

Building off of reason 8, not only does owning original work in the home allow you to support artists’ careers, but it is also an investment. These artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for many years all while increasing in worth. This is never something that will be achieved with a $12 print from Kmart.

Above: Thierry B, Blush, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 122 x 91.5cm.

10. Creates a Livable Environment 

Art can make rooms that are not necessarily “home-y” become comfortable working and living environments. A home office, for example, can transform from a place of work and business to one of relaxation and productivity all the with addition of an original work of art. Attached is an article explaining how artwork in office spaces improves employee productivity.

 

Above: Thierry B, Unlimited, 183 x 183cm & Between the Lines Series, 122 x 91.5cm, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen. Private Residence, Albert Park, Australia.

11. Keeps the Brain Active 

Art is very conceptual, artists use it as a medium to express personal thought, political or social issues, and to make us as viewers think. Some people do quizzes or crossword puzzles to keep their brain active, but another way to do so is to own original artwork in the home, to just sit, look, and think.

Above: Michelle Breton, Collioure, Mixed Media on Canvas, 117.5 x 203cm. Private Collection, Caulfield Australia.

12. Relaxation 

In a busy, fast-paced world that demands speed and productivity, home should be a place of relaxation. Coming home from a busy day at work to sit on your couch and stare at a TV or a blank wall is not as recharging or relaxing as enjoying an artwork purchased with the means to create a positive mood.

Above: Thierry B, Pieces of You, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen, 122 x 91.5cm. Private Residence, Toorak, Australia.

13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun! 

Last but certainly not least, curating a gallery is fun! Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists even, it is a fun experience! After a while you will start to notice a theme, in subject matter, colour, concept, etc. Playing with moods, composition, placement in the home, of all these reasons why to have art in the home, let’s not forget the fact that it is simply something fun to do.

As potential collector and client of Thierry B Fine Art, we are excited to offer Autralia-wide complimentary delivery to your home or business address. To place your order, email art@thierrybfineart.com or call directly on: +613 9827 7756. Thierry B Fine Art is located at 473 Malvern Rd, South Yarra.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment: 0404 861 438.

 

Thierry B Fine Art: Art As Therapy

When Oprah expouses the need to be our most authentic selves, to live our ‘best life’, she is telling us to live from the heart. As children we played inexhaustedly all day long, often forgetting to eat, relishing the intricate game we had concocted before being called in to eat dinner.  Playing may well be our greatest skill. Why then, must we be reminded constantly to re-enact our ‘inner child’ rather than our ‘inner critic’?

Plato once infamously said, “You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than you can in a year of conversations”. 

Which got me thinking – how do I play?
As a child I was an avid drawer, creating elaborate aerial perspectives of my bedroom, my haven from the world. An introverted dreamer, I loved escaping into worlds I festooned with colour and movement on old reams of butchers’ paper.
School work then took priority & for several years I forgot I could draw. I suffered my first bout of deep introspection, a.k.a depression aged 15, I painted my walls charcoal grey & the window sills of my bedroom even darker still.
I drew on an easel (same reams of butcher paper) every night after dinner, in graphite, charcoal sticks, chalky pastels, trying to somehow push my feelings through the paper, to the other side where answers would await me. The other side always felt out of reach.

Until I swapped my drawing apparatus with my bare hands. I bought two blocks of stoneware clay & forged hand-built figures, peeling away the positive until the negative space stood alone and whole.
This felt right, and somehow already known to me. Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time. What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit.

Above: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George (formerly Reflection Seascape), 1922.
Credit All rights reserved, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Many people inspire me.
American painter, Georgia O’Keefe was emphatic that “I could say things with colour and shape that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for”.


Above: Another beam of pure energy and light is the world’s oldest yoga instructor, Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98 who says ‘the joy of living is right inside you”.
After teaching for more than 75 years, this spirited yogi started her training in India at the tender age of 8. She swears by the mantra that “anything is possible”.

Jim Carrey, recently took up painting to play and explore his emotions in a symphony of colour on canvas. I don’t think he cares what he creates particularly – it is simply the act of creating and playing specifically that interests him most.

His 6-minute vimeo entitled I NEEDED COLOUR explains his motivation to explore.The video provides viewers with a brief look into what Carrey’s life is like, and the monumental amount of time and energy that he spends honing his craft, and his drive to do so.

Carrey shows off his various methods of creating artwork: heavy and measured brushstrokes, modelling clay, squeegeeing paint off of canvases, and then pouring paint directly on them.

Above: Jim Carrey in his studio.
Kurt Vonnegart’s humanist belief shone through his novels which blended science, satire and black comedy. 

He said, “to practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it”.


Japanese physician, 105-year-old Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, lived a long and extremely full life. The fact that he saw patients until a few months before his death that defies everything we have come to expect of old age.

He headed five foundations in addition to being the president of St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. He was responsible for introducing Japan’s system of comprehensive annual medical check-ups, which have been credited with greatly contributing to the country’s longevity.

How did he manage to live so long and live those years in a state of good health? He didn’t follow a sensible diet, but rather kept his physique trim by eating when hunger struck, and slept when he felt tired.

Working 18 hour days, 6 days a week, he seems superhuman surely. His work/life balance was skewed?  Not if you love what you do & share the knowledge, lecturing actively 2-3times weekly. He believed that energy comes from feeling good.

Don’t retire, but remain active longer. Mental agility equals well-being. That, and playing like a kid.

“Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.” 

He believed in the benefit of play with art, musical therapy providing the ideal stimulation to keep illness at bay.

Believing life is all about contribution, he held an incredible drive to help people – this is what made life worth living for him.

 

Closer to home, Thierry B is a mentor for me in how to live purposefully. His Buddhist beliefs underscore his ability to live life playfully with intention to serve others.

I am appreciative that I get to learn from my work environment from my daily dealings with valued clients. I listen to their needs and together we come up with a solution. The communication I offer is transparent and informative. We are all each others teachers, no matter how large or small the lesson taught.

I have bought two more bags of stoneware clay, dug out my wooden case of sculpting tools. This weekend, I’m gonna play until I feel hungry or the sun sets, whichever comes first. Art as therapy.

Wishing you a playful weekend,

Vicki xx

 

 

Thierry B Fine Art: What Makes Contemporary Aboriginal Art?

What Makes Contemporary Aboriginal Art ?

The contradiction of Aboriginal art is that it is both timeless and contemporary at the same time. This duality challenges the Western understanding of the progress of culture and ideas. Since Aboriginal culture is the oldest continuous living culture in the world , her artwork has existed for 40,000 years and is rooted in the human pre-history. Through songs, rituals, dances, storytelling, symbols and meaningful patterns that are being passed on, Aboriginal groups have managed to preserve their culture for thousands of years. When a group of elder desert men first started to paint their cultural heritage using paper and canvas, that was the birth of the movement that much influenced Aboriginal communities and Australian art in general. For the majority of Westerners, this was the first encounter with Aboriginal culture in general. Having a timeless connection to the pre-history and the first inhabitants of the Australian landscape, Aboriginal art has also been perceived as an innovative and iconic art form inherent to Australia.

Gloria Petyarre, Bush Medicine Leaves, Acrylic on Linen, 204 x 139 cm.

The Origins of Aboriginal Contemporary Art

The first desert works emerged in Papunya in 1971. A white Australian teacher and art worker Geffrey Bardon who was working in a remote community in Central Australia started an art program with children and elder men in the village. When elder men started to translate their knowledge of traditional folklore onto canvas, this was the birth of the contemporary art movement. Soon after, eleven men have formed a cooperative called Papunya Tula Artists, and the movement started to generate a widespread interest across rural and remote Aboriginal Australia.  Over subsequent decade as many Aboriginal communities contributed with their specific culture and knowledge, these differences developed into different pictorial languages and regional styles emphisizing their diversity. These initial works that include pieces by now famous Aboriginal artists such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, are today considered as the foundation of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement and are accounted as very valuable. The art critic and writer Robert Hughes has described the rise of contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art as ‘the latest great art movement of the twentieth century’.

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Narripi Worm Dreaming, ADG:845, 1997, 125 x 96cm.

The Symbol As a Language

Since Aborigines didn’t have a history of writing, they have a long tradition of communicating their stories and heritage graphically through symbols. This ancient iconography has transferred into contemporary art works. Often reflecting the spiritual traditions, cultural practices and sociopolitical circumstances of indigenous people, stories and symbols vary widely among the diverse Aboriginal cultures. They range from ones derived from the hunting and tracking background portraying animals and humans with marks they leave or certain clan patterns to aspects of their ‘Dreaming’. The Dreamtime is a translation of the Creation time for Aboriginal people, and it provides their identity and the connection to the land. Artists often need a permission to paint certain traditional stories, and this right is inherited.

Sally Gabori, DulkaWarngiid, 2007, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 195 x 610cm. Collection: National Gallery of Victoria.

The Aboriginal Art Today

Contemporary indigenous artists have won many of Australia’s most prominent art prizes not only reserved for indigenous art. Also, Aboriginal artists have represented Australia in the Venice Biennale in 1990 and 1997. Today, Aboriginal art is internationally acclaimed and recognized as fine art. It ranges across a wide variety of mediums from works on paper and canvas to fiber, glass and printmaking. Rooted in traditional iconography, the works are often remarkably modern in design and color. Some of the most prominent names include Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa,Emily Kngwarreye, Lorna Napurrula Fencer, Christine Napanangka Michaels, Rover Thomas and Gloria Petyarre. There has been a number of Aboriginal artists, such as Michael CookWilliam King Jungala or his daughter Sarrita King who have developed a very unique contemporary style combining their Aboriginal heritage with practices and techniques closer to the Western contemporary art. Albert Namatjira, one of the pioneers of Contemporary Aboriginal art, produced western style landscapes different to the traditional Aboriginal art style. On the other hand, there is a number of artists who ethnically and culturally identify as indigenous, but have adopted global art practices and recognizably Western style. Labeling them as Aboriginal artists have caused political controversies and raised questions on conventional notions of what Aboriginal art is.

Sarrita King, Ancestors, Jap 010912, Acrylic on Linen, 90 x 60 cm.

Sarrita King, Water, Jap-008727, Acrylic on Linen, 230 x 140 cm.

Labels and Controversies

It has been widely discussed whether the indigenous art has been commodified by the West and the commercial art world. It has been even suggested that using terms as ‘Aboriginal art’ is intrinsically racist in terms of labeling Aboriginality as ‘other’ compared to the Western norm.  Many contemporary artists who happen to be of Aboriginal descent refuse to be categorized and labeled simply for their ethnicity. This issue has gained great publicity when in 1990s Australia’s most renowned international artist Tracey Moffatt refused to present at the exhibition exclusively Aboriginal, and more recently when acclaimed contemporary artist Richard Bell was awarded the National Aboriginal & Torre Strait Islander Art Award in 2003. It seems that it might be the time that the Western community develops a more sophisticated understanding of the diversity of artists of indigenous descent.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Bush Yam Dreaming, 1994, inscribed verso: #551, Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas, 183.0 x 122.0 cm.

Aboriginal Art in the Art Market

In 2007, the painting Earth’s Creation by Emily Kngwarreye became the first Aboriginal artwork sold for more than $ 1 million. Her use of dots reaches its crescendo in this phase, with dots merging, separating and dominating in various configurations. They fuse together to create planes of colour structured into mobile shapes, or are choreographed to form lines that suggest dance movements. In earlier works they are used to form fine veils that shield secret markings or create shimmering effects reminiscent of the cosmos. Emily’s palette was largely determined by the changing seasons. Dusty browns appear in her canvases during the dry season, and greens appear after the rains, which Emily referred to as ‘green time’. When wildflowers carpeted the desert, she used a spectrum of yellows. The visual intensity of these paintings recalls the work of French colourists Sonia and Robert Delaunay, or even Claude Monet. Yet Emily knew nothing of their work and, while these French modernists explored pure colour as form and subject, Emily’s only subject throughout her life was her ancestral home of Alhalkere. Emily’s “green-time” canvases attest to an unshakable connection between body and country, one that evades iconography yet demands to be felt.

Only a few months after, an epic work Warlugulong by Clifford Possum was sold for $ 2.4 million in Sotheby’s auction in Melbourne. After the initial boom, the market for these works started to struggle due to the issues with authenticity, ownership, exploitation and Australia’s cultural heritage regulation. On the other hand, the first ever sale of Aboriginal art at Sotheby’s London in June 2015 was a huge success showing a sign of renewed interest in this movement. When choosing a piece, the great importance should be placed on the style, medium, status of the artist and age of the artist. With five works being sold for over $100,000, the auction brought in over $ 2 million for 75 lots. As the price of the pieces is rising again, buying Aboriginal art could be a wise investment.

Thierry B Fine Art proudly offers Aboriginal art and may be viewed in our gallery stockroom. Gallery hours are: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm, or by appointment on : +613404861438.

Vicki xx