The four paintings are among the first Kngwarreye painted on such a large scale, one that she was capable to handle with relative ease, but also a scale that allowed her to emphasize the broad expanse of her country, drawing the viewer into the canvas. They were painted during a time of intense ceremonial activity and the black primer of the canvas on which Kame- Summer Awelye II is painted may allude to the skin of ritual participants whose torsos Kngwarreye would have daubed with ritual patterns. In this reading of the painting, Kame- Summer Awelye II emphasizes the intrinsic connection of the individual to the landscape as a form of personal expression.
The canvases also mark the beginnings of Kngwarreye’s adventurous experimentation with an extended palette, moving away from pure earth colours of natural ochres to describe the flowers and seeds of the atnulare tuber in richer and subtle tones of secondary colours. The paintings are remarkable in the span of Kngwarreye’s œuvre in that the fields of dots appear to float across the picture plane and beyond, and the images are not anchored to a ground of free-flowing tracery that organizes the compositional structures of many of her paintings.
1 Isaacs, J. et al., Emily Kngwarreye Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1998
2 Neale, M (ed), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery and Macmillan, 1998
3 Neale, M. et al, Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Osaka: The National Museum of Art, 2008
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