Gift Guide for Christmas

Say sayonara scented candle! It’s time to think outside the gift box and give the unique gift of art this festive season!

Here at the gallery we all too often see visitors who want to give the gift of art for their loved ones, but get themselves into a state of exasperation trying to decide which artwork would be right. So, to help you out this festive season, we’ve created a ‘gift guide’ where we’ve listed some fabulous Aboriginal artists, and the personality types we see going gaga for their work.

Of course this is just a suggestion; nobody knows your friends and family better than you do, so be brave and confident in your decisions!  And don’t forget – here at Kate Owen Gallery we are very understanding if an artwork was purchased as a gift and may not be quite right. Our Art Consultants are always here to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ready to start your Xmas shopping? Let’s go!

 


The Logical Sort

A good way to tell if someone would fit in to this category would be to ask yourself:

How would they respond to the blobs of paint in this artwork:

 

  • a)            Argh! Fix it!
  • b)            No- that’s just the quality of the work

If they would respond with something along the lines of A) then it is best to go for an aritist that has precise dot work or a systematic composition. Artists that instantly come to mind are Walala and Thomas Tjapaltjarri. These are highly regarded artists that we featured this year in our ‘Three Brothers’ exhibition. Geometric shapes and a carefully applied dot work give these artworks a powerful ‘Shimmering’ quality synonymous with depictions of the Tingari Cycle. These artworks are a great ‘go-to’ if you are purchasing for a man, as these artworks depict secret sacred men’s business, so there’s a great connection and story to share as you gift the artwork. 

Two other trailblazing artists who are soaring to dizzying heights are the King Sisters. Back in 2009, Kate Owen Gallery was proud to present the 3 Kings exhibition, where Sarrita and Tarisse King paid homage to their father, the highly respected artist and elder, William King Jungala (1966 – 2007). Back then, the sisters wove their own styles with that of their father and produced fascinating interplays of colour, design, heritage and spirit.  While still at the early stages of their careers, we could tell that Sarrita and Tarisse were set to become big names in the Aboriginal Art world.

Flash forward nine years, and the King Sisters have cemented themselves as the exciting next generation of Aboriginal artists. Still honouring their father’s stories, the sisters have matured and developed their own unique style which has seen them displayed in galleries throughout Australia and around the world. Their works are vibrant, striking and contemporary. The sisters employ a diversity of styles and colour palettes which make them perfect artists to explore as gift options.

View Sarrita Kings artworks

View Tarisse Kings artworks

Whilst these “giftees” will simply not appreciate the loose, wild, and gestural nature of a Polly Ngale Bush Plum or a Gloria Petyarre Bush Medicine piece, but a good alternative is a Jeannie Petyarre Bush Medicine piece. It may come as a surprise, but we find the focal point in Jeannie’s art makes all the difference for these logical folks – it provides an opportunity to enter the artwork and be taken on a journey through the flowing bush work.

We would also recommend heading to our Art Search Page. On the bar to the left try searching for ‘Style: Dots – Fine’ or ‘Style: Dots – Medium’ as we do find these types of art lovers appreciate the time and effort to create such a piece.


Loose, Wild, Gestural

Have you heard your friend ever mention that they love Monet’s water lilies? Or do you notice they lean towards more organic shapes? Then we’d recommend exploring the beautiful bush plum and bush medicine leaf paintings made famous by the artists of Utopia. These artworks are produced using acrylic paints loaded onto a single brush and then applied or ‘pushed’ vigorously into the canvas, linen or board in such a way that the paint is mixed in the resultant mark on the canvas. These artworks may appear more abstract, but they are deeply grounded in Awelye.

Another artist who depicts Awelye is Charmaine Pwerle. Charmaine’s lines are bold and sure, echoing those of her grandmother Minnie Pwerle, but with the assurance of a much more practised artist than her years or experience would suggest. The brushwork in her body designs, Awelye, has all the characteristics of this family dreaming, but Charmaine lends her own distinct creative flair, pattern and movement to the canvas. We held an exhibition earlier this year showcasing her incredible talent titled Charmaine Pwerle – New Traditions.


Naïve Art

I have to look inwards to describe this personality – as I absolutely LOVE this style of art !

I think it’s fair to say we are a quirky bunch – if you were drawn to Courtney’s styling on the recent TV series of Channel Nine’s The Block (the more lamas the better!) then I think it’s safe to say this is your squad. Perhaps you’ve admired the Tjanpi Desert weavers  or the soft sculptures of Yarrenyty Arltere Artists? To you – figurative art that’s a little off beat is fine, because it’s bursting with personality.

There may be simplicity of form in Karen Napaltjarri Barns and Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown's art, but there is an incredible energy in the dynamic composition, colour and line.

What makes naïve Indigenous Australia art so fascinating is that certain artists, such as Linda Syddick and Jack Dale, have used this style to depict the changes in Aboriginal life, their interface with the 'whitefella' ways, and their experience through this period of seismic change.  If you have an interest in history, these artworks represent a fascinating first-hand account of important moments in our nation’s history.


Kudditji

When it comes to this artist, it’s quite clear – you either love his work, or you don’t. And that’s fine. All we say is – we’ve had visitors to our gallery who never considered his work and left the gallery converted. What amazes us about Kudditji Kngwarreye’s artworks is that we never tire of them, as they are always revealing themselves. The light at different times of the day emphasise certain colours in his work which is just magical. Each artwork also has quite a unique ‘feel’ and can completely change the atmosphere of a room. Take for example the images below. It’s the same space, the artworks are the same size, but the artwork selection has completely changed the feel of the room.

 

This artwork brings a beautiful warmth to the room and is very grounding.

 

Whereas this artwork is very uplifting and keep as cooler tone to the room.

Both look fabulous, but it is really a personal preference what mood you want your home to have. When it comes to giving the gift of a Kudditji, make sure you have a clear understanding of your loved ones home décor, so you can select the right piece that will match the mood.

Check Out our 'See Art on Wall' feature!


Family and Friends visiting from overseas 

Why not give them a piece of Australia to take home with them? We find that most international clients love a conversation piece – something that they can proudly hang on their wall and share their stories of their time in Australia, and impart some interesting information about the world’s oldest living culture.

Kathleen Buzzacott and Selma Coulthard are brilliant choices. Their work depicts the features of the land and the native fauna in incredible detail. Peter Overs is also a popular choice due to its universal appeal and neutral colour palette.

The artists of Yuendumu are also an excellent choice as they come with a certificate of authenticity from Warlukurlangu Art Centre which explains the artwork story in great detail. Head over to our Art Search Page and in region select ‘Yuendumu’ – you will be spoilt for choice!

If your international family and friends have to catch a plane home, you may have to consider size as well – we have a huge range of artworks that can safely be rolled in a tube and taken as hand luggage.

 


 

If all of this information has just made you even more confused – well, why not give your loved ones a gift voucher, or create a gift registry page where multiple people can make a contribution. Then your loved ones can use all of our gallery services to help pick the perfect piece for their home.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post – these are all just our suggestions and nobody knows your friends and family better than you do, so be brave. Your loved ones will probably be very touched you thought of such a unique gift for them that truly will last the test of time.     


Tommy Watson | KOG Perspectives

The Kate Owen Gallery staff have had the pleasure and privilege to be surrounded by the art of Tommy Watson for the last couple of weeks during our stellar show Tommy Watson | Desert Legend. Here the KOG Crew share their insights, gush over their favourite pieces, and reflect on the legacy of this recently deceased master.


 A staff favourite


Like many indigenous artists Tommy Watson’s artworks are simply titled but refer to so much more than the title may suggest. ‘My Country’ (2013) is without a doubt one of the most unique Tommy Watson artworks I’ve seen. It captures everything; the physical veins of the landscape, vivid colours of earth, the sandhills, and the flora that sporadically trail and dot the land. It also manages to capture the intangible livid nature of the outback suggesting a forceful flow of energy.

In this unique artwork Tommy expresses his ‘country’ via an authoritive journey of chunky dots of fraught black and blue tonalities. The bright orange is arresting, vibrant against the darkness. The colours undulate around each other and dissolve into the painting, rendering the landscape pregnant with tension as though this is the nucleus of everything.

‘My Country’ can be interpreted as a tribute to mother nature, her harshness, overwhelming beauty and force. Showing the power and strength of the elements reflected in a physical state – the landscape from an aerial perspective.
Within the constraints of the linen Tommy has captured the raw energy of life.

Kirby Olave
Indigenous Art Consultant
Kate Owen Gallery


Tommy Watson’s fame


Tommy Watson was undeniably the most highly prized and collected artist in the Indigenous art movement for well over a decade. Watson’s prices reached dizzy heights of nearly a million dollars whilst painting and continue to blossom posthumously.
In 2006 Watson was selected for the Musee Qui du Branly in Paris, commissioned by Jacques Chirac – (then President of France) this was a milestone for the already established star of the world of modern art.

Watson’s highest auction record was reached in 2007 and stands at $240,000 including BP. The artwork titled ‘Waltitjatta’ (2006) measures 204 x 251cm – by no means a small work but in the grand scheme of things – and dwarfed by the prices reached through private treaty in the last 5 years.

Watson’s artworks are enigmatic, capturing dreaming’s that in his words, “can be traced back to the end of the ice age and beyond.” These artworks will vanish soon enough, like the melting ice at the end of the ice age.

A selection of Tommy’s largest and most important works have been collected and left to mature somewhat - hidden from the public and institutions alike. ‘Scarcity’ and ‘rarity’ are words often casually thrown around in context of a great artist’s works but in the case of Tommy Watson’s largest artworks, we are yet to see the full impact of a market that cannot quench their thirst fast enough.

Daniel Goldshaft
Senior indigenous art consultant
Kate Owen Gallery


A quiet moment with Tommy Watson


Tommy Watson | Desert Legend is on display in our third level collectors gallery, which perches on the corner of the major intersection of Victoria and Darling Road, in the old York Building in Rozelle. It’s a fabulous open space that’s just perfect for major exhibitions, and the sunlight floods the room throughout the day.

Whilst Kate Owen Gallery has had some major shows on display in this space, for me, this one has completely hypnotized me. Being in the presence of one Tommy Watson artwork is enthralling, so you can imagine what it must do to your senses to be completely enveloped by Tommy’s rhythmical paint and sensual depictions of Country. It is a wonderful feeling, and I am acutely aware it is a phenomenal  rarity to be graced with this each day I come to ‘work’.

I have actually found myself getting in to a bit of a new ‘morning routine’ since the Tommy Watson exhibition began - I’ve taken to having my morning coffee not at my desk, but upstairs in the top gallery space.  As I enter the space the hustle and bustle on the city street below completely washes away, and as the sunlight begins to saturate the space, the artworks begin to sing. This quiet moment with Tommy Watson’s artistic genius is something I cherish.

I encourage everyone to take a moment out of their busy lives to experience this exhibition !

Elizabeth Geyer
Media, Digital Marketing & Communications
Kate Owen Gallery


Museum Quality Artworks

It goes without saying that the paintings by Tommy Watson featured in our exhibition are sublime, many of them never exhibited before and a body of work that truly represents the depth of Tommy’s knowledge, respect for ‘Country’ and artistic skill.    
 
On a personal note, I found that talking with Ken McGregor who had a close relationship with Tommy, gave me a glimpse of the man, who in the tradition of the Aboriginal stockman, yet a traditional elder, found “voice on canvas” at a later age.
 
It would make perfect sense to me and be completely appropriate if some of the incredible works in the exhibition found their way to Australian Art Institutions where they could be shared with the public.   His work is already on display in the Musee du quai Branly in Paris where the great spiritual heritage of the Australian Indigenous people is celebrated and promoted, surely it’s time for Australia to follow suit …..  

Surrey Webb
Senior indigenous art consultant
Kate Owen Gallery


Tommy Watson | Desert Legend

Article: Exhibition Opening

Online Exhibition

Photo Gallery: Exhibition Opening

Related Videos


Article: Exhibition Opening

We titled our much anticipated Tommy Watson solo show ‘Desert Master’ for obvious reasons – as soon as you enter our top gallery space you are simply awestruck by the artistic genius of the late master. Last week art lovers, journalists, and collectors alike braved the miserable Sydney weather to attend the opening of Tommy Watson | Desert Master here at Kate Owen Gallery in Rozelle.

“Sydney is at last getting a serious show of the art of the late Tommy Yannima Watson” writes Jeremy Eccles, and attendees at the exhibition opening certainly did not leave wanting. Kate Owen Gallery put on a feast thanks to Wow Catering, and Ken McGregor (author of the authoritative artist monograph on Tommy Watson) gave a captivating speech on the life and art of Mr Watson. But it was the art that gathered us together that night, and it was the art that was the absolute standout. As Ken McGregor mentioned in his opening address “you’ve put on a monumental display of works, these are museum quality works”. 

The show has been a labour of love for Kate Owen Gallery’s Director, Mr Geoff Henderson for over 18 months and involved securing pieces from the vaults from some of Australia’s most esteemed fine art collectors. “This curation of masterpieces and museum quality works, including many previously unexhibited works, showcase the soaring talent of this recently deceased master,” explains Mr Henderson, “never before have so many of Watson’s seminal works been exhibited in the one space”. One seminal work that has to be seen to be believed is the groundbreaking 2013 piece featured in the Australian newspaper. Standing at just less than 5 meters long it has the power to envelop you in its rhythmical dot work and sensual tones of orange.

Also on display were pieces that demonstrated his intuitive and masterful use of colour and form.  Even artworks such as Anumarapiti - TWAHF0004 which does not command the same wall space as other grand pieces in the show, still holds its own as an exquisite example of Watsons work. Compositionally there is a masterful sense of balance and a surprising selection of colours sit harmoniously and at ease on the canvas. 

As formalities concluded for the night, Geoff Henderson just had one more thing he wanted to say;

“As someone who deals with Indigenous art all the time, it’s moments like this where it’s time to stop and say ‘thank you’ first and foremost to the artist that made this possible…Thank you, Tommy.”

Mr Watson was alive when planning for the exhibition begun, but unfortunately the Desert Master passed away before ever seeing the completed exhibition. It is bitter sweet that he never got to see the celebration and appreciation of his artistic genius on display all around at the exhibition opening, but something tells me he had captured everything he wanted to convey in these monumental paintings he so generously left behind for us.

Tommy Watson | Desert Master will be on display at Kate Own Gallery until 11 November. Gallery is open 10-6 every day.

Can’t make it to the gallery? You can view the online exhibition here. If you would like any further information about the artworks on display, please don’t hesitate to contact the gallery. You can also request an exhibition catalogue here.


 

Photo Gallery of Exhibition Opening - Click Here!


 

Related Videos


Gems from the Stockroom | 26 august - 17 september

Our Art Consultants have really outdone themselves with these hand-picked ‘gems’ from our stockroom. With 2,0+ artworks to choose from, plus some gorgeous new arrivals that just had to be included, it isn't surprising. You will be dazzled by the exquisite selection on offer, and amazed at how the vast array of different styles sit extremely well in the one space. A visual feast that shouldn't leave you wanting more but will almost certainly leave you wanting a piece of your very own.

It is interesting to know that it isn't the same artist, similar style or even region that bring these pieces together for exhibition. What does bring these art works together for display are that they are all personal favourites that simply make our Art Consultant's say "wow, I just love that piece!" While they are contrasting, they simply look absolutely beautiful together.

Some new and exclusive pieces by Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty are quite likely to catch your eye. To be honest, you certainly would not want to miss them on display. Helen is an award winning indigenous artist. To add to the spectacular colour and intricacy of her work, Helen often provides a beautiful meaning and story that goes with her pieces. Her most recent additions to the gallery and this exhibition are no different. These stories include ancient wisdom and customs through to her own personal life stories and that of her close family. Read some more of Helen's stories.

This piece is particularly impressive and is called 'Wadjigan People'. Recently, when shared on social media, fellow artist Tarisse King reached out to say of this piece; "Helen u can do no wrong!"... Quite the compliment!

Helen's story for this art work:

"Wadjigan People. Our country is Bulgul. Our language is Batjamal.

This painting depicts our ancestors and billabongs and waterways where they hunted for survival.

The old people looked after our country. They still say don't be greedy. Only get enough for family and always share.

Ochre stones are for ceremony - body painting. Also found are small stones used to sing someone to love you.

This story is depicted in green because food and freshwater is always plentiful. Small black and red circles are the different Wadjigan tribes that walked before us.

White circles up top are the white stones used to sing someone to you"

Other artist featured in this exhibition include:

Gloria Petyarre

"Bush Medicine" by Gloria Petyarre H200 x W120 (GPEG0544)
 
Tommy Watson

'Wati Kutjara' by Tommy Watson H182 x W243 (AGTW0303121984)

Minnie Pwerle

'Awelye Atnwengerrp' by Minnie Pwerle (MPWG0009)

To see these pieces, and many more, we strongly suggest you do not miss the 'Gems of the Stockroom' exhibition at Kate Owen Gallery. If you can't make it in to the gallery thankfully you can also view the exhibition online.