Etched in the Sun II is the glorious title of the latest exhibition at the Nancy Sever Gallery. While this is not an original title (in 2008, Basil Hall Editions and the Drill Hall Gallery at the ANU presented Etched in the Sun) it is such an apt one. We wander up the stairs into a world of etchings, wood cuts and screen prints that mirror the sun baked spaces, sacred icons, native fauna and modern reality of Indigenous Australia.
I am blown away by the range of Indigenous art in this exhibition which includes a selection of prints done by Basil Hall Editions, five new etchings from Warmun artists in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and the Desert Mob Panel, 40 woodcuts by artists from 40 communities across Central Australia.
Once again, Nancy Sever curates an exhibition that lifts us into new worlds. We are taken on a journey from the pastel earthy pigments and soft shapes of the Kimberley, in works by Peggy Patrick, Shirley Purdie and Gordon Barney to the complex and dynamic environment of remote communities in the wonderful series of Desert Mob woodcuts.
We marvel at the heart stopping fluorescent green and burnt orange in Maringka Baker’s Untitled, the perfect pattern of sunshine yellow and sea blue by Butcher Cherel and the mystical nuances in enigmatic motifs by Mabel Juli and Rosella Namok.
The exhibition also features a number of beautiful collector’s pieces by non-Indigenous artists – Garry Shead, Jenny Sages and Judy Watson – but it is the work of Indigenous artists that stamps and skips in exquisite rhythm on the walls of this gallery and dances its way into our hearts.
© Anita Patel, 2016