Selections from Australia’s Western Desert features six large-scale works which spring from thousands of years of tradition disconnected and uninfluenced from the outside world. Distinct from outsider art and not defined by chance affinities with western contemporary abstract art, these paintings stand as stories and narratives infused with an intense connection to the local landscape.
On view will be significant works by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Timo Hogan, Carlene West, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and Doreen Reid Nakamarra.
“This stimulating exhibition begins yet another season at the National Arts Club where we'll bring world-renowned art, which isn't seen elsewhere in New York, to the public for free, continuing to fulfill our mission,” said David Doty, President of the NAC.
The exhibition is free and open to the public daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The NAC is located in the former Samuel Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY. Additional exhibition details can be found at nationalartsclub.org/exhibitions.
The NAC is grateful to Mr. Martin and Ms. Stringfield for being so generous with their time, expertise, and enthusiasm during the planning of this exhibition.
About the Artists
Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri was a Pitjantjatjara elder healer and artist born in Pirupa Alka. His work often reflects the rock formations of the Kata Juta (Olgas). Tjapaltjarri began painting at age 84. He was a renowned keeper of sacred lore and indienous Australian knowledge.
Carlene West was born in 1944 in the sand hills on the western edge of Tjitjiti, a vast salt lake in Spinifex country. In 1959, West and her family left the desert to escape the British government’s nuclear testing at Maralinga, moving to a mission at Cundeelee. She and her husband, Fred Grant were influential in helping the Spinifex people return through the bush to Tjitjiti. West began painting in 1997 and her acclaimed works have been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, the British Museum and collectors worldwide.
Timo Hogan is from the remote community of Tjuntjuntjara in the Great Victoria Desert or Western Australia. He is one of the youngest painters from and affiliated with the Spinifex Lands. Timo’s majestic representations of Lake Baker and its ancient legend of Wanampi (powerful water serpent) resonate with his love of heritage and birthplace. “This is Lake Baker. This is a big place, a big lake. He lives here. Watersnake man. All this place is white and that watersnake man is white….. Always the same place, Lake Baker. That’s because it’s my place. My father’s place.” Timo Hogan was the recipient of the prestigious Telstra Art Award in 2021.
Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri was born in the late 1950s into a family of Pintupi hunter-gatherers who had never come into contact with Euro-Australian society. In 1984 they finally interacted with the outside world and were settled in Kiwirrkurra. Tjapaltjarri paints abstract images from his family’s sacred stories and songs. The stories focus around the Tingari, the ancestors of the Pintupi spirit beings who are believed to have created all living things. In October 2016, Tjapaltjarri had his first solo exhibition in the United States at Salon 94 Gallery in New York City.
Doreen Reid Nakamarra was an important artist and spokesperson for the Papunya Tula artist cooperative owned and operated by the Aboriginal people from the Western Desert of Australia. Her personal style re-figures the Australian landscape depicting designs associated with the Marrapinti rockhole site in Western Australia. In 2008 she was awarded the Telstra Award. Nakamarra is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
About the National Arts Club
Founded in 1898, The National Arts Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Annually, the Club offers more than 150 free programs—both in-person and virtually—to the public, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings, attracting an audience of over 30,000 in-person visitors and thousands more online. Feature programs focus on all disciplines of the arts.
Since 2019, the Club has been undergoing a renaissance. New initiatives—such as an artist fellowship, an outdoor concert series, and online programming—have attracted new audiences. At the NAC's landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, efforts have been made to reimagine, renovate, and preserve the building’s galleries and historic spaces.
The NAC is also a proud community partner, providing therapeutic art instruction to children in the care of the Administration of Children’s Services, regularly convening New York City art leaders to share ideas and collaborate, presenting a popular series of concerts in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and more.
For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.