Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994 bears artist's name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number MN940293 on the reverse synthetic polymer paint on linen 152 x 183cm (59 13/16 x 72 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: Painted at Kintore, Northern Territory Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory Purchased from Utopia Art Sydney, Sydney in April 1994 The Laverty Collection, Sydney
EXHIBITED: Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861 - 1996, curated by Nick Waterlow and Ross Mellick, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 21 November 1996 - 31 March 1997 The Laverty Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 20 June - 20 August 1998 12th Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 26 May - 30 July 2000 A Century of Collecting 1901>2001 curated by Nick Waterlow, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, 29 March - 28 April 2001 Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle 14 May - 14 August 2011
LITERATURE: Art & Australia, vol. 32, no. 1, Spring 1994, p.7 (illus.) 'The Laverty Collection' by Anne Loxley, Art and Australia, Spring 1996, vol. 34, no. 1, p.69 (illus.) Ross Mellick and Nick Waterlow, Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861 - 1996, Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996, p.62 (illus.) Joan Kerr, 'Divining the Spiritual', Art & Australia, vol. 35, no. 1, 1997, p.53 (illus.) John McDonald, 'Cull to be Kind', Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1997 John McDonald, 'Art and Authenticity', in Collections', the International Magazine of Art & Culture, 1998, vol. 3, no.1, p.63 Nick Waterlow, A Century of Collecting 1901>2001, Paddington, News South Wales: Ivan Dougherty Gallery, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, 2001, no. 29, p.16 (illus.) Colin Laverty, 'Diversity and Strength: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art - A Private Collection', Arts of Asia, November - December 2003, cat. no. 13, p.87 (illus.) Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Recent Painting from Australia's Remote Aboriginal Communities - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2008, p.80 (illus.) Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Edition II, Melbourne: Kleimeyer Industries, 2011, pp.86-7 (illus.)
Mick Namarari was one of the founding members of the men's painting group at Papunya in 1971 and his paintings were included in nearly all of the consignments of paintings that were sent to the Stuart Art Centre in Alice Springs. He was a versatile artist, ready to experiment with a range of figuration and compositional structures while retaining the individuality of his 'hand'. His vast ancestral knowledge and his ritual standing allowed Namarari to paint a range of subjects that included the Wind, Water, Kangaroo and Marsupial Mouse Dreamings. In 1978 he created a series of sublime paintings of the Moon Dreaming for Mick and the Moon, Geoffrey Bardon's film about the artist. A number of these paintings are in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. Namarari won the National Aboriginal Art Award in 1991 and in 1994 he was the first recipient of the Australia Council's Red Ochre Award for his contribution to Aboriginal culture at home and abroad.
His main source of inspiration was the Kangaroo Dreaming at his place of birth, Marnpi. In the 1980s Namarari left Papunya for the Pintupi community of Walungurru (Kintore) from where he established an outstation at Nyunmanu. Nyunmanu is a water soakage at the site of the Dog Dreaming.
Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994, relates to a number of paintings made by Namarari in the early years of the Papunya movement, including Dingo puppies (Ngunmanu), 1972, and Ngyuman, 1972, the latter in the collection of the Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide (see Ryan, J, J. Kean et al, Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert art, Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2011 pp.169 and 172 respectively. A later related work is Untitled, 1997, in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, illustrated in Perkins, H. and H. Fink (eds), Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius, Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales in association with Papunya Tula Artists, 2000, p.149.
Painted during the wet season of early 1994, Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), ranks as one of Namarari's most accomplished paintings. His inventiveness is evident in the use of continuous brush strokes as opposed to the lines of joined dots favoured by most Pintupi painters, that were to become a distinguishing feature of his work from the late 1980s on. The hypnotic minimalism of lateral lines combined with subtle shifts in tonality lend this work a numinous quality that evokes the natural rhythms of sand hills and water; more significantly, the surface of the painting shimmers with ancestral light.
In terms of Australian art history, Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994, is a painting that crosses the cultural divide that had hindered the aesthetic appreciation of Aboriginal art on its own terms. In the ground-breaking exhibition Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861-1996 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, curated by Nick Waterlow and Ross Mellick in 19967, the painting was hung in the final room of the exhibition beside works by Maxie Tjampitjinpa, Rosalie Gascoigne, Brian Blanchflower and other non-Indigenous artists. Such juxtapositions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal art were regarded at the time as 'a brave and important gesture', to quote the art critic John McDonald ('Cull to be Kind' in Spectrum Arts, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1997, p.12) who went on to state that '... surprisingly, no-one really loses by the comparison'.
This painting is sold with an accompanying Papunya Tula Artists certificate.
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