Mossenson Galleries Collingwood is delighted to present Melbourne Stories, an exhibition of paintings by Josie Kunoth Petyarre and Dinni Kunoth Kemarre, presenting depictions of Melbourne inspired by their visit to the city in March 2007. The exhibition will be opened by Mick Molloy on Thursday 15 November 2007 at 6pm, at 41 Derby Street, Collingwood.
In March 2007, Utopia artists Dinni Kunoth Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre visited Melbourne for the first time, travelling from their remote outstation of Pungalindum in the Eastern Desert community of Utopia. They came to Melbourne for the opening of their exhibitions Centre Bounce, at the AFL Hall of Fame, and Arkerre thene Irretye (Night Owl and Eagle) at Mossenson Galleries Collingwood. For Dinni and Josie, a married couple aged in their 50s, it was the first time they had travelled outside of the Northern Territory, and their first time in a town larger than Alice Springs. Dinni and Josie travelled extensively in Melbourne, and were given VIP treatment by the AFL, with Dinni visiting the Melbourne dressing rooms after a one-sided Saints-Demons game at the MCG. The visit was an eye-opening and at times alarming experience, with a mass of extraordinary new visual information to process.
Returning to Utopia, Dinni and Josie unexpectedly embarked on a series of paintings that sought to synthesise all of the complex experiences of their visit to Melbourne. They produced several extraordinary large-scale canvases that assimilate the cityscape of Melbourne into a Central Desert sense of geography. These maps of the city incorporate Melbourne landmarks – the MCG, St Kilda beach and pier, Luna Park, the Royal Exhibition Building, Fitzroy Gardens, Swanston Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and Federation Square – into an Anmatyerre spatial logic. In a fascinating and vivid meeting of two visual experiences, the paintings present an engrossing, enlivening picture of the urban landscape as seen from a radically different cultural background. Alongside these works are a number of smaller works incorporating landmarks and tableaux, often broken up into multi-panel compositions.
This exhibition comes at a time of increasing success for Dinni and Josie, who have recently been jointly selected to compete in the inaugural $100,000 Sellers Art Prize, amongst a field of fourteen illustrious artists chosen from several hundred entrants. They have also been Highly Commended in the Willoughby Art Prize, and chosen as finalists in the Blake Prize, the Waterhouse Natural History Prize and the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. Their exhibitions at the AFL Hall of Fame and Mossenson Galleries were highly successful, with works being acquired by the National Museum of Australia and Artbank, and prompting profiles in Australian Art Collector and Australian Art Review. Increasingly, and to their great pride, several of their adult children, who live with Dinni and Josie at Pungalindum, are now also taking up painting, having been inspired by the determination and success of their parents.
Josie has been involved in the Utopia art movement since its inception in the late 1980s, when she produced batik works and paintings on canvas. Prior to becoming an artist, Dinni worked as a young man at many stations in the Eastern desert, branding and mustering cattle at Utopia Station, Waite River Station and Amaroo Station. In early 2005, Josie began making sculptures that, while redolent of the early carving movement from Utopia, moved that tradition in new directions. Beginning with an eccentric menagerie of birds, animals and human figures painted in ceremonial dress, she added new and unexpected objects to her repertoire, incorporating other aspects of life at Utopia – Toyotas, police cars and tables and chairs. Dinni soon joined Josie in producing these carvings, and all of the sculptures produced since have been the result of their collaborative efforts. In 2006 Dinni and Josie embarked on a major project, carving sixteen sculptures of AFL football players – one from each club in the league, which were exhibited to great acclaim at the AFL Hall of Fame. They have since gone on to exhibit Christian devotional paintings in the Blake Prize, and their sport-related work will be recognized at the Sellers Prize Melbourne Stories continues this tradition of playful experimentation, and Dinni Kunoth Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre are rapidly establishing themselves as amongst the most daring and exciting, if decidedly offbeat, artistic innovators of Central Australia.
Melbourne Stories will be opened by Mick Molloy at Mossenson Galleries Collingwood at 6pm on Thursday 15 November. For further information, please contact Mossenson Galleries on (03) 9417 6694 or email@example.com.