Here, There and Everywhere
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
This week ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom Teaching Artist Flavia Berindoague introduced us to the work of contemporary Australian Aboriginal artists Rover Thomas, Alan Petyarre Pitjara, Debra McDonald, Kathleen Petyarre and Anna Petyarre
Above paintings by Rover Thomas, Cyclone Tracy, Natural earth pigments and binder on canvas; Alan Petyarre Pitjara, Men Ceremony Dreaming, Acrylic on canvas; Debra McDonald, Two Woman Dreaming, Acrylic on canvas and Anna Petyarre, My Mother’s Country, Acrylic on canvas
Flavia explains: “In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, this lesson was inspired by the Indigenous Australian, known as Aboriginal, who are great storytellers. Telling stories out loud is only one way that Aboriginal people convey narratives. In addition to spoken stories there are also songs and dances that tell similar narratives. Another well-known method—particularly in recent years—is in the form of painting. In this activity students will learn about contemporary, Aboriginal dot painting as a storytelling medium.
Aboriginal people tell stories as a form to keep their culture alive, to know where they are coming from, and to know where they are going. The stories have been handed down through the ages and are an integral part of an Indigenous person’s Dreaming. The expression Dreamtime is most often used to refer to the time before time, or the time of the creation of all things, while Dreaming is often used to refer to an individual’s or group’s set of beliefs or spirituality. An Indigenous Australian might say that they have Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreaming pertinent to their country. However, many Indigenous Australian also refer to the creation time as The Dreaming.”
Advanced Studio Artists then responded to Warren Foster’s story Gulaga creating an abstract work in the materials of their choice.
This story is about Gulaga, which is our mother mountain, our sacred mountain. It's about her two sons Najanuga and Barranguba.
Barranguba is Montague Island, that's what the white people call it. Barranguba is the older son of Gulaga and the way the story goes is that, Gulaga she had two sons-Barranguba and Najanuga and Barranguba was the oldest.
Just like the older son or older brother who gets sick of living near their mother, he moves away. So Barranguba asked his Mum could he move away from her side for a bit and he went out into the sea to watch the actions of all the fishes and whales. Take care of all that.
The little brother, he saw the big brother going out and he said to Gulaga 'Mum, mum, can I go out too? I'm big. I'm grown up, can I go out and watch the fish and the whales?'
She said, 'No, son. You are too little. If I let you go out there, you'd get swallowed up by Gadu, the sea. I'll put you down near the foot of me, so I can watch you and you can watch your brother out in the ocean.'
She put him down where he is now and that's where he stayed, to watch the actions of his brother while under the eye of his mother. We call that little mountain `mummy's little boy', because he's always with his mum.
Pat writes about her piece: "It's sort of an aerial view, sort of, with different pieces of the narrative in different places in the composition. The "laciness" represents the footsteps of the older brother (yellow) and younger brother (brown) going out from the mother (larger reddish circular arrangement). The black area in the lower right is inspired by imagery from Rover Thomas's Cyclone Tracy painting and represents the danger that the mother fears from the sea. The older brother is the yellow arrangement in the lower left-hand corner, surrounded by the fish (grey dots) that he loves to watch. The younger brother is sitting at his mother's feet (brown arrangement and smaller reddish arrangement), and I actually put them closer to the sea (grey dots at top) because maybe the two of them go together to the sea from time to time."
ART YARD Advanced Studio in person met this week at Figureworks Gallery in Williamsburg Brooklyn to see the 20th anniversary exhibition. Randall Harris, gallery owner and director, gave an introductory tour which was followed by a lively discussion lead by Teaching Artist Susan Hamburger about both her own site-specific hallway installation and the gallery exhibition. Participating artists had strong and positive responses to a number of pieces, and discussed how they could use a selected work of art as a jumping off point to create a drawing in their own style.
Advanced Studio artists drawing from Figureworks 20/20. On view through October 29, 2021. Susan tells us: “The choices each participant made connected with personal interests and experiences, leading to new and engaging compositions created by various means. Some strategies included creating a close-up section of a painting, incorporating elements from two works into one, reinterpreting a 3-D work in 2D, and including elements from imagination. Each individual transposed their selection into a meaningful interpretation.
The final critique and compliments concluded the evening for this small but highly engaging group."
Our ART YARD Art Matters at Brooklyn New School students travelled to the school’s greenhouse area this week for a “drawing from observation” lesson. The school's garden is filled with large green plants, bright autumn flowers, and lots of vegetables - extremely fitting for our Heal and Restore theme.
Teaching Artist Fatima Traore introduced the lesson by explaining various types of drawing - and what and how “drawing from observation” meant. She explained “texture” and how to create it by using simply pencil on paper, amongst other terms. Students dispersed to 3 locations and drew plants and flowers from the school’s garden, most in great detail.
Vincent and Henry spotted a butterfly, which landed on the shrub they were drawing so they quickly included it in their pieces. Cyla drew various types of flowers and is planning on filling her page with many more. Liam and Walsh included the fence and other areas of the gardens center and playground which added an urban feel to their compositions. Each student appreciated their own successes and are looking forward to continuing this project.
ART YARD BKLYN’s site-specific public art exhibition “Your Flowers Are So Lovely They Have Made Me Well Again” is now on view at 339 Adams Street in Downtown, Brooklyn!
The installation team included: Richard Estrin, Evelyn Beliveau, Dennis Buonagura, Nayarit Tineo.
Maraya Lopez assisted by Vera Tineo are about 2/3 done a site specific stenciled banner edging.
This project is part of STAR – Storefront Arts Recovery Initiative that connects artists with property owners to enliven NYC sidewalks with art.
The installation is on view 24 hours a day. Come on by to check it out!
ART YARD Artist Robin Grant writes with a video recommendation: “I was watching a documentary on Rothko’s “color field” paintings! Color theory was discussed and how the artist used it in his painting. It also highlighted his influences. This made me appreciate the color theory class more! Please let Rachael know how important her recent Advanced Studio in person class was to me, especially in being able to look at art differently (academically)!"
How about a field trip of your own? May we suggest Casa Meriditta in beautiful Ofena, Italy?!
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