Synopses & Reviews
explores the extraordinary transformation in Australian Aboriginal art that began in the 1970s. Instead of making art primarily for each other-whether painted or inscribed on rock walls, on the ground, on bark, or on bodies as part of ceremonies-artists began rephrasing their practices to inform outsiders about the complexities of their cultures and the remarkable lands that Aboriginal communities have managed for centuries.
Many of the paintings in Ancestral Modern initially appear abstract but communicate surprisingly specific observations about places and people, flora and fauna, and Aboriginal history. In three wide-ranging essays and illuminating discussions of fifty individual works, the authors consider how deceptively simple means yield richly multilayered meanings. What appears to be a geometric maze turns into the path of ancestral beings establishing features of the landscape. Canvases resembling maps record memories of sacred ceremonies. Dazzling linear patterns conjure up leaves blown across a windswept desert, and herringbone hatching designates clan identities. Along the way, this collection offers many new visions of Australia-peering underground to see yams grow, trekking over vast salt lakes, following the trail of a blue-tongued lizard, and encountering a lightning-spitting serpent in swirling water.
Two Australian and two American curators each contribute a distinct perspective on this collection of over one hundred artworks that span the Australian continent and the varying approaches to art pursued by diverse Aboriginal communities. Acrylic paintings from the desert, bark canvases from the north, and ochre-painted canvases from the west are joined by new uses of fiber, clay, and photography. Complementing the fully illustrated essays and catalogue entries are a visual glossary, which offers glimpses of the real-life creatures and landscapes that helped inspire the artworks, and a glossary of terms defining some of the essential concepts of Aboriginal culture. Ancestral Modern is dedicated to a vanguard effort by artists who are showing the world another way to experience not only their own country and worldviews but nature itself, wherever it is encountered.
and#8220;Ancestral Modern is a dazzling survey of contemporary Australian artists working in the 50,000-year-old Aboriginal tradition.and#8221;and#8212;T: The New York Times Style Magazine
A fascinating look at Australian Aboriginal art over the past four decades, highlighting millennia-old artistic traditions
Australian Aboriginal art is the longest continuous art tradition in the world, spanning over 50,000 years. Ancestral Modern
puts a modern face on the tradition, celebrating the past 40 years of contemporary indigenous art, which has experienced a renaissance since 1970. Featuring more than 100 paintings and sculptures in a variety of media, this book provides a fascinating revision of many commonly held beliefs about the art form.
Aboriginal artwork is often said to induce a sense of "intellectual vertigo," due to its expansive interpretations and methods of representation. The bold patterns and striking colors lend comparisons to abstract expressionist or minimal art, but as this book shows, the imagery is more deeply narrative and often more literal than previously thought, depicting landscapes, still lifes, historical events both literal and mythic, ceremonies, portraits, and even laws. Works of art are shown alongside photographs of the actual landscapes and animals depicted, providing important visual context for understanding an art form that is at once ancient and contemporary.
Also included are detailed biographies of many leading contemporary artists, including Emily Kame Kngwarreye, John Mawurndjul, and Rover Thomas.
A dynamic look at the potential of disguise seen in masks, installations, and performances by contemporary artists of African descentand#160;
This dynamic look at contemporary African art that reinvents masking practices and disguise features interviews with ten artists working around the globe.
While masks are a major art form in many parts of Africa, their use has taken new turns in the 21st century. Disguise: Masks and Global African Art
explores how themes related to masking and disguise in the past are now transitioning into new platforms around the world. The authors examine the influence of masks residing in the Seattle Art Museumandrsquo;s renowned collection, investigating the longevity of masquerades, and how they offer ways to disrupt and reimagine reality.
In todayandrsquo;s global and digital world, artists are engaging with disguise through photography, video, and interactive platforms. Ten contemporary artists interviewed for this catalogue create work that conceals, layers, and reinvents identities. They include Jacolby Satterwhite, who creates extravagantly choreographed videos; Brendan Fernandes, whose performance-based works show how dance embodies disguise; and Zino Sara-Wiwa, a video artist and filmmaker who has examined the status of traditional Ogoni masks in the midst of Nigeriaandrsquo;s destructive oil trade. They are joined by numerous others from around the globe who address the intersection of disguise, identity, ritual, and contemporary life.
This unprecedented book charts the development of Australian art since 1800, from early Aboriginal paintings and the work of the first colonial settlers to contemporary artists whose work reflects their culturally diverse influences. The book celebrates key moments in the Australian canon and showcases more recent artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Fiona Hall, and Vernon Ah Kee, who have emerged and established a highly original native art scene. Because the art of this continent is indelibly linked to its epic landscape, this book focuses especially on this complex and evolving alliance, illustratand#173;ing in some 200 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and film and video stills the distinctive Australian terrain, and examining the ways in which Australian artists have sought to negotiate their identities in relation to the extremes of their land.
About the Author
Wally Caruana is an independent curator, formerly a curator at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Franchesca Cubillo is curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.