Opening at RMIT Gallery in time for NAIDOC Week (1-8 July), Yulyurlu Lorna Fencer Napurrurla is the first major retrospective of one of Australia's most prominent and experimental desert artists.
The exhibition (29 June – 25 August) traces Yulyurlu's development as a highly original artist during her 20 years of practice, highlighting her importance within the Lajamanu region and positioning her within the broader framework of the central desert art movement.
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said she welcomed the opportunity for Melbourne audiences to see Yulyurlu's bold and expressive work, especially as her pioneering role within the Warlpiri art tradition has never been fully appreciated.
"Yulyurlu didn't start painting until she was in her sixties, and quickly developed her own radical style, reworking the central desert idiom which pushed the boundaries of desert painting at the time," Ms Davies said.
"As an artist, Yulyurlu was exceptionally prolific and independent.
"She wasn't afraid to explore a range of different marketing opportunities and this was no doubt influential in encouraging her individual expression."
Featuring more than 60 paintings on paper and canvas, prints and three-dimensional works drawn from public and private collections from Australia and overseas, the exhibition showcases the energy and vibrancy of Yulyurlu's work that created considerable interest in the marketplace. This has been sustained since her death in 2006.
When Yulyurlu started painting in 1986 her work tended to bright colours and an asymmetry that became more pronounced in her more mature paintings. Her designs became looser using broad gestural brush strokes and a rich overlayering of paint. The expressive and colourful works highlight the stories of Yulyurlu's ancestral lands and reveal her strong personality and independent nature.
Curator Margie West, Emeritus Curator of Aboriginal Art, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, will hold a curator's talk and walk-through of the exhibition on Friday, 29 June (12pm-1pm). Free: bookings, (03) 9925 1717.
For interviews: Evelyn Tsitas (03) 9925 1716 or 0418 139 015.
For media enquiries: RMIT Gallery Administrator, Megha Balakrishnan, (03) 9925 1717.