Gloria Tamerre PETYARRE (Aborigine artist, Australia, born in 1938)
Le rêve du lézard sauvage (The Devil Lizard’s Dream), 1994
Acrylic on canvas
Indicated references on canvas’s verso: Gloria Petyarre Delmore DH94A011
Stretcher with wedges
Height: 234 cm (92 in.) - Width: 124 cm (48-3/4 in.)
Overall very good condition. Very minor abrasion traces on border
- Delmore Downs, Utopia
Important artist from the Utopia community like her sister Kathleen Petyarre, Gloria Petyarre Tamerre reflects the women’s role in Aboriginal desert painting as being an element of dynamism and a factor in its renewal.
Where other eminent artists tend to favor a very simple pallet sometimes reduced to black and white, Gloria Petyarre presents here a very colorful work which celebrates the myth of the "Woman - Lizard " Arnkerrth , creator and guardian of ochre mines in culture, religion and art of the desert.
This animal spirit is also a legislator deity who set the rules of life for the women from the artist’s clan and is honored in various parts of the territory surrounding Utopia initiated by its mysteries that sing, dance and paint on the floor their exploits and legend.
To evoke Arnkerrth, the artist was also inspired by the motifs of body painting which she adorns herself in order to celebrate this ancestor. In this sense , one could consider the canvas as a kind of "self-portrait" where the artist displays her own painted body.
But the horizontal and vertical lines obviously recall stylized ribs belonging to a totemic animal which the artist identifies when she evokes.
In this sense, the painting by Gloria Petyarre is a religious icon with the representation of a sacred being during Dreamtime. But it is a metonymic mode for the "Woman-Lizard" is present only partially and symbolically.
Finally, the line motifs that form the canvas can also be read as a kind of dreamlike mapping the territories that are aligned to Arnkerrth and propose a sort of "satellite view": each series would correspond to a particular ceremonial area.
But aerial landscape is rendered abstractly. The religious work and incised self-portrait overlap, merge and make the web a "leaf " of meaning - itself allegorical of this multiple space-time which is Dreamtime.