Angelina Pwerle’s subtly shifting, abstract paintings come out of a history of Aboriginal art-making that is thousands of years old. Yet audiences of contemporary art will find reference points in the spatial complexity of Jackson Pollock, optical intensity of Bridget Riley, technical elegance of Vija Celmins or meditative process of Agnes Martin.
Using the fine point of a bamboo stick, Pwerle paints masses of minute, individual dots that float, cloud-like, on a colored ground, shifting and vibrating within an indeterminate spatial plane, to depict the Bush Plum Dreaming narrative.
To Aboriginal people, “Dreaming” describes not only the creation of the earth and every life form, but provides the framework for human experience in the universe and the harmonious order of all things.
The Bush Plum is a shrub found in dry Northern and Central Australia that because of its significance as a food source, is a totem with an associated Dreaming story.
Pwerle’s representation of that narrative – formally sophisticated and dazzlingly transcendent — goes beyond cultural specificity, ethnographic stereotype or art historical precedent — to describe our place in the universe.
Angelina Pwerle was born in 1946 in Utopia, Australia – Aboriginal freehold land north east of Alice Springs. Her paintings are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland; and The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan. This is Pwerle’s second solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery.