How do you know when you've found 'the one'?

Not the man or woman of your dreams, but the perfect artwork for your home or office!

With over 2,000 artworks here at the gallery, the process of finding 'the one' may seem daunting - but we've asked our amazing art consultants (who have over 50 years experience in art consultancy combined!) what are the key signs they know their clients have found their perfect artwork. 


 If you compare every other possible artwork to it, chances are you've found the one!


What if I said I had another client who wanted to purchase the artwork today - how would you feel? If you wouldn't be that bothered, maybe it isn't the one for you..



Daniel Goldshaft, Senior Art Consultant


This is why I love our home trial service! You can learn a lot about your taste this way. Like music, some art takes time to get to know. Sometimes the best art reveals itself slowly.... at the end of the home trial period, are you still admiring the artwork and finding wonderful new details you didn't notice before? Or perhaps you already can't imagine the space without it!  


If you're  emotionally invested in a couple of artworks and can't decide, sometimes it's good to refer back to the key guidelines you had when you first started looking for a piece of art; did you have a particular size in mind? Did you want the space to have a certain 'feel'? Or do you want an artwork that is bold, vibrant or quiet? If the artwork ticks all the boxes, then bingo! you've found it!


Some couples have such different styles and aesthetics, just finding ONE artwork that you both agree is beautiful is an amazing feat (I've had some clients that have had to wait 12 months for this moment to happen!) When that moment does happen - snap up the artwork pronto to avoid disappointment!


I always say 'go with your gut' even if you don't know how it will work with other pieces in your house...If you always follow your instincts you'll find over time your own unique aesthetic shines through, and you'll have a home full of treasured  pieces that each hold a special story for you.


     I think buying a piece of art should be a pleasurable, fun experience. If you feel like you need to make a quick decision as you feel the need for closure, or you have a pressing deadline, it might be best to place the artwork on hold for 24 hours, or take it on a home trial. We want you to be 100% happy with your selection.


It can get very busy on the weekends in the gallery, so come prepared if you can, know the size that you require and, if possible, bring photos on your phone of the space.

 Remember it’s not always about the look of the painting in isolation, but how it will influence your space. Let our experienced staff guide you.


   
Surrey Webb, Senior Art Consultant


If you're new to the concept of buying art, then sign up to our mailing list and come along to our exhibitions! You’ll soon discover the myriad of different styles of art that are out there. The more you’re able see and experience, the more you’ll discover the works that pull at your heart. See if you can time your visit with one of our artist in residence programs. Learning the process, techniques and concepts behind a piece can give you a whole new perspective on what it means and how it makes you feel. Take notes on the types of works that speak to you the most – is there a particular style, medium or theme that you seem attracted to consistently?


  Just remember, you’re the one who will be admiring this piece on your wall, day in and day out. While we can direct you towards a particular artist you might like, when it comes to choosing something for your home, it’s entirely personal. You don’t want to spend the big dollars on a piece that you tire of within a year! Your friends and our art consultants may have lots of experience and knowledge about an artists’ standing in the market, but they don’t know your home or your personal preferences. Trust yourself.


Your taste is always growing and evolving. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. You may find that as time passes, you’ll be drawn into different styles, colours and genres – but that’s just part of the fun! Keep an open mind when visiting the gallery and you might surprise yourself with how diverse your art taste really is. There are no boundaries and the only person you need to please is yourself – so let yourself fly free! 


If you find an artwork that you can’t stop thinking about, chances are it’s meant to be in your life.


 
Kirby Olave, Indigenous Art Consultant


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Introducing Niah Juella

It is with great excitement that we are hosting the first Sydney solo exhibition for Niah Juella McLeod, an exciting new voice in the contemporary Indigenous art scene, winner of the 2017 Paddington Art Prize Young Artist Award and finalist in this year’s Paddington Art Prize. Niah is a descendant from the Monero, Wandandian and Yuin people from south eastern Australia and her works tell of stories passed down from her parents which are unique to her history.

As the daughter of artist Kathrin Sharp and Aboriginal activist, poet, healer, musician and Yuin Elder Bobby McLeod, Niah's works tell of stories passed down and unique to her history.
 
A fine dot artist, Niah  began painting as a form of meditation, only first exhibiting her work in public in 2015! We instantly noticed Niah's incredible talent at the 2017 Paddington Art Prize, where Niah stunned visitors and the judges alike with her incredible depiction of “Ngudjung Yugarang” – Mother’s Heartbeat. 
 
Niah's art continues to develop and we are delighted to present her latest body of work - the meditative process is evident in her works and explores her spiritual and physical connection with place and people. Enjoy!
 

 

Interview with Niah Juella McLeod

Do you remember the first time you picked up the brush and started painting?

 
Yes, I was actually living overseas at the time.. a friend of mine had an art studio so I would to spend a lot of my days in there hanging out with her and one day picked up the brush and starting doodling on her “offcuts”. It wasn’t until I moved home though that I painted my first painting, I would say I have definitely become more intricate with my paintings… I do worry less though about the tiny little imperfections, I’ve come to really love those and I feel like it makes a painting more unique.
 

What inspired you to become an artist?

 
I’ve always drawn and painted, Mum always encouraged both my brother & I to be creative. We were always surrounded by beautiful artworks my grandmother brought back from different remote Aboriginal communities where she worked as a nurse and midwife.
 
Drawing and painting was always something to me more like meditation, a way to switch off or tune out; not realising until later it was doing the opposite. I only really painted here and there and doodled in books like my art diary, then decided to move Sydney just over a year ago. I was signed with a modelling agency and working full time.
 
Within the first week of living in Sydney I took myself off to the South Coast, I needed to see my Grandmother whom I hadn’t seen since I was a baby. I met up with my Uncles, Aunties, Brothers, Sisters. Re-connecting with my family has been one of the most significant moments in my life.
 
I looked at myself, my life a little differently, my scribbles, my drawings were more meaningful. My first painting I’d really connected with was one I had done specifically for my Nanna Mac.
 
After that trip, I caught the train back to North Bondi, quit my job and quit the modeling world. I entered myself into an exhibition art fair, painted my ass off for three months and sold every single piece. Whoo!
 
I have recognition most importantly from Family and now I can pay my rent through doing something that is so intrinsically part of who I am and so worth doing! I have started painting full time. It is still such an extreme journey, I'm so proud of myself and of my faith in my belonging.
 
      

Can you tell us about your artworks?

 
I don’t have a plan when I start panting unless it's a commission,  Usually I just dive in and they turn themselves into something. They are a way for me to connect, it's my belonging and my journey  .. I was once asked if I could describe my paintings to the visually impaired what would I say .. I think that it looks like movement but feels still.. that still resonates with me.
 
 
 
       

Can you tell us about your favourite dreaming that you paint?

 
I have a Painting named ‘Ngudjung Yugarang - Mother’s Heartbeat’. This is a special piece very close to my heart. I remember I had my set paintings for my first exhibition with 4 weeks to go and I had decided to paint a 1.5 X 2 metre painting which was the first ‘Mothers Heartbeat'. I stayed up almost every night for 4 weeks and painted like crazy and I’m so happy that I did. I created her and I fell in love with her and so have a lot of other people. She has a really beautiful feeling when you get to see her in person. Once I had finished I had found the title in one of my father's books, the name just felt perfect.
As soon as I finished painting I also fell pregnant with my first daughter - meant to be.
 
     

When you are painting, what are you thinking of?

 
It can go either way.. Literally everything goes through my head… it's like I completely go through every situation I’m currently in. Or nothing at all - I can blink and it's been 3 hours (if I’m lucky) and I’ve finished half a painting.. my kids are usually running around me or at my feet wanting something every 3 minutes but if I get the time to myself I will usually blast reallllly bad (awesome) music and try to completely switch off.
 
 

How do you paint? Do you have an easel; do you have canvas on the floor or wall?

 
I paint on canvas either on the floor or just on any table the canvas fits on away from little grubby kiddy fingers that are constantly waiting to pounce or “help".
 
 
 
 

“When I’m not painting, you can find me…”

 
I have a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old son so I’m trying to do my best with keeping up with them all day every day, then at night when they sleep I can paint if my partner can’t wrangle them for a few hours .. soo , beaches, parks, dance classes, soccer classes, farms and  can probably recite every lyric of Frozen and Moana.
 
 

“If I wasn’t an artist, I would be a…”

 
Honestly, probably an even more hands on mum with a cleaner house, that's a full time job in itself.
 
 

What’s your advice to others hoping to become an artist?

 
If I could pass anything on, it would be to go for every opportunity, even if you think you aren’t “qualified” or good enough. I think travelling and meeting new people, putting yourself out there is very important and has been a big help for me, I’m an introvert and love my anonymity. Though I surround myself with people that are so driven and passionate about what they do, it’s a constant inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are your own worst critic and to just surrender to it. 
 

Video: Niah Juella exhibition


A vibrant new exhibition by Karen Napaljarri Barnes

Our Karen Napaljarri Barnes show is proving to be popular with visitors young and old. Her depictions of Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming) and the birds and animals that live around Yuendumu have such a great charm and presence that they really do stop you in your tracks.

Upstairs visitors can enjoy a salon hang of Karen’s latest body of work simply bursting with colour. Large statement pieces and more affordable smaller works makes it a lively, dynamic show with something for everyone.

Karen is one of Warlukurlangu’s exciting next generation of artists. She caught the attention of the art world some years ago when she showcased her depictions of Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming) – using a naïve portrayal of the birds and a very abstract representation of the landscape, favouring bold and contrasting colours. In recent years, Karen has extended her repertoire and has taken great delight in depicting the animals that live around Yuendumu (scroll down for a beautiful selection of her muses, courtesy of Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu!).

Karen’s distinctive style extends an existing Warlukurlangu reputation for innovative and expressive use of bold colour, of which her grandmother, the great Judy Napangardi Watson, was one of the trailblazers. In fact, when Karen first started painting for Warlukurlangu, you would find Karen sitting next to her grandmother, who would not only encourage her to paint but teach her all the important cultural stories and traditions.

This really is a delightful show and the KOG Crew just love seeing visitors to the gallery meet Karen’s quizzical critters, discover their unique charm and personality, and leave with a smile.

 
Some beautiful images of Karen and her muses. All images © Warlukurangu Artists of Yuendumu

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Polly Ngale | Arnwetky Exhibition

On display in the charcoal gallery. Can't visit the gallery? View our online exhibition here.

 
click on image above to view the exhibition catalogue

Polly Ngale is one of the most senior custodians of her country Ahalpere, in the heart of Utopia, located in the north west corner of the Simpson desert and roughly 350km north east of Alice Springs, along the Sandover Highway.

Polly in considered one of the most accomplished painters from the Utopia region and is inspired by the Arnwetky (conkerberry) – a green tangled, spiny shrub that produces fragrant white flowers. After the summer rains tiny green berries begin to grow and ripen, changing colour over the weeks from light green to pinks and browns to yellow, to shades of red and purple when they finally ripen. The fruits very much resemble a plum and is often referred to in English by Polly as a ‘bush plum’. The Arnwetky is a popular variety of bush tucker for the people of Utopia, as well as possessing medicinal properties.

During the Dreamtime, winds came from all directions, carrying the Arnwetky seed all over Polly’s ancestors’ Anmatyerre land. To ensure the continued fruiting of the Arnwetky, the Anmatyerre people pay homage to the spirit of the bush plum by recreating it in their ceremonies through song and dance, and in recent years, through painting. The patterns in the paintings can represent the fruit of the plant, its leaves and flowers, and also the body paint designs that are associated with it during ceremony.

For Anmatyerre women, the bush plum is a source of physical and spiritual sustenance - reminding them of the sacredness of Ahalpere country. Its story is crucial to Anmatyerre women's ceremonies.

Polly’s depictions of Arnwetky are the accumulation of a lifetime's knowledge about the country that she loves and feels a personal responsibility to care for. The power of the art resonates across geographical, botanical and spiritual dimensions.

In recent years, Polly has undergone a renaissance in her work - by all accounts producing some of the finest paintings of her career to date.

Kate Owen Gallery is delighted to present Polly Ngale’s new body of work, which showcases her exuberant and masterful depiction of Arnwetky .

Read More:

Polly Ngale's Bush Plum


Defining Tradition | black & white

We are delighted to present our third exhibition in the 'defining tradition' exhibition series. In this show, we are celebrating the trailblazing artists who moved away from colour and pursued a more minimalistic style. Inspired by ancient Dreamings and the Australian landscape, their works are restrained in colour palette, yet remarkably powerful with exceptional compositional designs.


Article

On display are the great trailblazers such as Dorothy Napangardi and Lily Kely Napangardi. Dorothy’s early years at Mina Mina (where she lived a traditional bush life), along with the sacred Dreaming stories that inhabit the land, are the inspiration and subject of her work. 

Dorothy’s early artistic endeavours consisted on subject matter such as Bush Plum and Bush Banana – wild fruits that grow in abundance around Mina Mina – depicted in vibrant acrylic tones. Even at this stage, her superb sense of composition was evident. When Dorothy had the opportunity to return to Mina Mina in the mid 2000s*, she had the opportunity to be inspired by the landscape, and  her work developed towards a previously unseen abstracted method of Aboriginal art – all iconography pared back to the barest essentials. Just as Dorothy’s visual effects are subtle and intriguing, so too are their connection to culture and country.

The Australian art world instantly took note of this trailblazer. In 2002 her major solo exhibition (and the first solo exhibition for an Indigenous Australian artist) opened to considerable acclaim at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, and later toured Asia. In 2012 she became the first indigenous Australian artist to have work accepted by Art Cologne, and in the same year her work was displayed in Ancestral Modern, an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Since Dorothy’s passing, the New York MET has acquired one of her pieces, and there has been a retrospective exhibition at the Seatle Art Museum.

Also on display are the gestural artists such as Charmaine Pwerle. Daughter of Barbara Weir and granddaughter of Minnie Pwerle, Charmaine hails from one of Aboriginal art’s great painting dynasties. Whilst it is tempting to look at Charmaine's artworks in light of her famous relatives, her art demands attention in its own right.

It makes its own statements.

Charmaine’s subject matter draws on stories passed down for generations, but approaches it in a wholly different fashion than her grandmother to whom she is so often compared.

Defining Tradition | black + white also showcases artists who employ exceptionally fine dot work and complex designs, such as Anna Price Petyarre and Dulcie Long Pula.

Like their forebears from Utopia, Anna and Dulcie continue to astound the art world with their distinct and rich artworks, in recent years both having branched out and pursued a more minimalistic style. Exhibiting a restrained colour palette, their works demonstrate an exceptionally fine attention to detail, highlighted by complex designs and fascinating insights into the deep underlying cultural meaning associated with their artworks.

We also present pieces in this exhibition by Clifford Possum and Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty, who have used a black and white colour palette to present stories that are of a more ominous, sombre tone. Follow the links below to find out more about these artwork stories:


Click here to read the story of Awurrapun

 


Click here to read the story of The Tjangala Brothers

 

Click here to read our recent blog piece: Understanding Colour 

We look forward to seeing you in the gallery soon to see this incredible display of works!

* Mina Mina is now uninhabited desert country west of Nyirripi,  since the Warlpiri people’s move into communities Nyirripi and Yeundumu.


 Black & White Art at Home

Love the artworks on display in this exhibition, but are uncertain as to how to incorporate them in to your home or office space? Here is some advice from one of our Senior Art Consultants, Surrey:

The use of black and white Indigenous paintings for contemporary interior spaces create an unquestionably sophisticated and elegant look.  The monochrome allows the viewer to focus on the power of the composition, the ancient narratives behind the designs.

Used in modern interiors these striking artworks are often combined with sleek metals and rich timber surfaces and help create enviable calm, contemporary spaces that feel uncluttered and easy to live in.

Interested in arranging a home trial, digital hang, or using one of our other gallery services? Contact Us and one of our friendly Art Consultants will be able to assist you.