Gallery welcomes Aboriginal artists |

Gallery welcomes Aboriginal artists

Matthew West Tjupurrula, "Kingfisher Dreaming at Wirrimanu." The work is included in Brumby-Ute Gallery's Papunya Tula Artists show, opening Friday.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

What: Papunya Tula Artists opening reception

Where: Brumby-Ute Gallery, Ute Building, Aspen

When: Friday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m.

More info:

What: Papunya Tula Artists symposium

Where: Hines Room, Aspen Meadows Resort

When: Saturday, Feb. 14, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

RSVP: 970-920-5081;

If you’ve wandered into the Brumby-Ute Gallery in the Ute Building downtown since it opened in December, you’ve gotten a crash course on the Aboriginal art of Australia, its storied history and the vibrant works of its present practitioners.

This weekend, the gallery is bringing two of those leading artists to Aspen, along with curators and experts on the movement, for a one-day symposium on the indigenous painters of Australia’s western desert. The program Saturday follows the third opening at the new gallery.

The show highlights work by 15 artists from Papunya Tula Artists, a cooperative formed in 1971 that organized painters and has brought their work to the rest of the world.

“It is important for us to educate the community about what this art is and where it comes from,” said Julie Harvey, Brumby-Ute’s co-director.

Harvey, in 2009, spearheaded an exhibition of work in New York City titled “We Are Here Sharing Our Dreaming” by Papunya Tula Artists — the first in the U.S. The Aspen show includes contemporary Aboriginal artists’ work alongside canvases from Papunya Tula’s archives — some of which have never been exhibited in Australia or the U.S.

Exhibiting artists Ray James Tjangala and Matthew West Tjupurrula will be in attendance at today’s opening at the gallery and Saturday’s symposium. Their work, using intricate geometric designs on canvas, looks similar to Western contemporary art but come from a different tradition uninfluenced by the West. Neither artist has previously been to the U.S.

“They’re coming because they really want to be here and they want to engage with the people of this community,” she said. “It’s a big deal for them to come here. They’re representative of this art movement and their culture. It’s a great coup for this city, honestly.”

The show includes George Tjungurrayi’s “Ngangkari Boys at Kirrimalunya,” from 2011, which depicts designs associated with an ancestral site in the desert. Also in the show is Tjangala’s “Tingari men at Mukala,” painted in 2013, which similarly uses designs to represent a site associated with ancestral myths of the Tingari people. The show will be on display in the gallery through March 12.

The daylong symposium will also feature Fred Myers, an anthropology professor from New York University, who lived and worked with Papunya Tula Artists in the early ’70s, Will Owen, a leading collector of indigenous Australian art and Stephen Gilchrist, a curator who has placed some of these works in American museums.

Also opening

The Brumby-Ute opening and symposium is among a handful of new shows in Aspen this Presidents Day weekend.

The Aspen Art Museum opened two new exhibitions Thursday evening Its outdoor commons is hosting its second show since the museum opened in august. It now features British artists Alice Channer’s site-specific “R o c k f a l l” stretching around the museum’s exterior. Also opening at the museum this weekend is an exhibition by Italian multimedia artist Roberto Cuoghi. Both will be on display through May.

Baldwin Gallery on Friday hosts a dual opening of Matthew Weinstein’s “Life on Other Planets” and Inka Essenhigh’s “Stars and Flowers,” including new painting and works on paper. Both shows run through March 6. The Galena Street gallery’s reception today will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Aspen Grove Fine Arts on Cooper Avenue exhibits playful new work by painter Anke Schofield, with receptions Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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