Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri circa 1932-2002 POSSUM DREAMING AT NAPPERBY
- Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri
- POSSUM DREAMING AT NAPPERBY
- bears Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number CP791224 on the reverse and artist's name, title and date on an Art Gallery of South Australia Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri retrospective tour label on the reverse of the protective panel
synthetic polymer paint on linen
- 183 BY 152.5CM
Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs
Mr Tim and Dr Vivien Johnson
The Estates of Professor Peter and Mrs Jane Johnson
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 31 October 2003 - 26 January 2004; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 24 March - 3 May 2004; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 May - 11 July 2004; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 7 August - 24 October 2004
Tim Johnson and Vivien Johnson, The Painted Dream: Contemporary Aboriginal paintings from the Tim and Vivien Johnson Collection, Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland City Art Gallery, 1991
Vivien Johnson, The Art of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Sydney: Gordon and Breach Arts International, 1994, p. 77, pl. 23
Vivien Johnson, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2003, p. 121 and p. 237, pl. 24
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From October 1976 to July 1979 Clifford Possum created his most celebrated series of large canvases: five monumental, innovative canvases that mapped out the artist's major patrilineally inherited Dreamings in such a way as to integrate the sacred diagrams of ceremonial ground paintings and the topographical conventions of European maps. The series commenced with Warlugulong, 1976, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and ended with Yuutjutiyungu, 1979, in the Kelton Foundation Collection in Los Angeles. The series includes Warlugulong, 1977, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. This group of paintings is of such significance in the artist's corpus that the main authority on his work, Vivien Johnson, dubbed the series 'The Title Deeds' (V. Johnson, 1994, p. 49, and 2003, p. 86).
Possum Dreaming at Napperby, 1979, was the first painting created by Clifford Possum after he had completed the series with Yuutjutiyungu, 1979. Possum Dreaming reveals a shift in direction for the artist; the background dotting, according to Johnson, has been 'scaled up, and is applied with a virtuosity ... heralding an era in which immaculate craftsmanship would become one of the hallmarks of Clifford Possum's style' (Johnson 2003, p. 120).
The painting describes the travels of a Possum ancestor, Tjukunypa, across a landscape marked by areas of dry bushes (the sections outlined in pink). Tjukunypa's paw prints are bisected by meandering lines which are the marks left by his dragging trail. Tjukunypa travelled both over and beneath the surface of the earth. Clifford Possum's innovative and experimental approach to paintings is evident again here: the partially obscured possum prints in the central column of tracks indicate his underground journey, while the sets of concentric circles represent the places where Tjukunypa entered the ground and re-emerged from it.