Review: Works on canvas from the Central and Western Deserts of Central Australia

Review: Works on canvas from the Central and Western Deserts of Central Australia

An incredible little exhibition in the heart of Wimbledon. Jenny Booth reviews.

Down leafy avenues in a secluded corner of Wimbledon Village is a treasure trove of an exhibition by aboriginal artists of Central Australia, tantalisingly open for one week only.

Knowledgable and enthusiastic curator Sarah-Jane Holden has assembled the show at a home in Parkside Avenue. These bold, abstract and stylised paintings which reference a completely different culture shine most interestingly in a domestic setting, both exotic and yet also intimately appealing.

You’ll need to set aside at the door your normal ways of looking at paintings, and immerse yourself in the swirling, rhythmic pattern-making with spots, dots and delicately tapered brush-strokes.

Colours are neither earthy nor for the most part naturalistic – they encourage you into an abstracted way of thinking that allows for multiple possibilities.

The artists are all part of the Tingari collective and many are members of family groups. There is some repetition of topics – ‘Bush Plum (Arnkwety) Dreaming’ is tackled by several, particularly by Angeline Pwerle Ngala – within the overall theme of the natural world and humanity’s place within it.

A swirling pointillist style recurs in the work of several artists, but each vision is individual. As in previous years, I enjoyed Walala Tjapaltjarri’s patterns of rectangular cells that at first sight recall crocodile skin, but then resolve into any number of other possible interpretations including the cracked claypans of a dried up lake. Joy Kingwarreye Jones shows stunning delicacy and precision in her ‘Awely (Body Paint)’ series, abstract designs resembling peonies that range in tone from the bold and optimistic to the dark and mysterious.

The exhibition presented by Sarah-Jane Holden and Tingari Arts was open from 10am-4pm daily until Wednesday 22 February, at 9 Parkside Avenue, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5ES.