ARTIST: GLORIA PETYARRE
BORN: C 1945
REGION: Utopia, Alice Springs
Gloria Petyarre, sometimes referred to as Gloria Pitjara, is arguably the most famous and significant of all female Australian Aboriginal Artists living and working today. She is internationally acclaimed for her 'Bush Medicine Leaf' paintings.
Gloria Petyarre is a multi-award winning artist and a highly collectible one. Her involvement in the founding projects of the Utopian Art Movement, and her status in the group have given her a place in Australian Art History - as well as a significant body of work. Apart from winning the AGNSW Wynne Prize in 1999, Gloria went on to be a finalist another four times. The most prestigious Indigenous art competition in this country, the 'Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award' has featured her artworks on many occasions, and her works are widely collected and commonly held in the finest Aboriginal Art Collections and Museums worldwide.
Her career took off with gusto when she won the most coveted Australian annual 'Wynne Prize for Landscape' at the New South Wales Gallery in 1999, for what was a most extraordinary painting for its time: A huge, gold and green abstract work, made up of swirling leaf shaped brush strokes, close together on a black background and yet imparting to the canvas the energy and flow of leaves being scattered by a fitful wind, seaweed swirling in a change of tide, or grass billowing in the wind.
The leaves in the winning painting, based on those of the Kurrajong tree which is used for bush medicine, were meticulously painted and yet their apparent freedom of movement gave a lightness and looseness to the creation. So much did this artwork fascinate the essentially nature-loving people of this country that it was to become one of the most popular styles in Aboriginal art, and in fact became a style that brought many a devotee to the genre because of its resonance with the viewer. And with her win came a triumph for Aboriginal art: Gloria Petyarre became the first Indigenous Australian artist ever to win a major art prize at the Gallery of New South Wales.
Gloria's origins are in a region called Utopia, covering an area approximately 230 - 300km from Alice Springs, itself a remote town to many people. Utopia takes 'remote' to an entirely new level, being still without a township in 2012, without the usual resources and reachable only by a dirt road (as long as rains do not block it entirely).
As demand for Utopian art grew, so did Gloria's career. She travelled with her art to many countries and exhibited in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA and Japan, and of course in regional and commercial galleries throughout Australia.
1993 - Design for tapestry for Victorian Tapestry Workshop.;
1993 - Mural for Kansas City Zoo;
1994 - Tapestry Commission for the Law Courts, Brisbane, Queensland
1999 - Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Allen, Allen & Hemsley
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
Art Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia
Artbank, Sydney, NSW
Australian National Gallery, Canberra, ACT
British Museum, London, U.K
Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Campbelltown, NSW
Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Gold Coast, Queensland
Griffith University Collection, Queensland
James D. Wolfensohn Collection
Levi Collection, Seattle, Canada
Macquarie Group Collection
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria
Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria
Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Darwin
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, NSW
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Supreme Court Collection, Brisbane, Queensland
The Robert Holmes a'Court Collection
University of New South Wales Collection, Sydney, NSW
University of the Sunshine Coast Collection, Queensland
University of Woollongong, Woollongong, NSW
Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, U.S.A
Westpac Gallery, New York, USA
Woollongong City Art Gallery, Woollongong, NSW