Makinti Napanangka Recent Paintings at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi.

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Published Friday, 29 November 2002

The current exhibition of Makinti Napanangka at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi confirms that this artist just keeps on improving and refining her unique visual vocabulary, with an appealing and masterful musical blend of colour and line. The public has received Makinti's work enthusiastically as both this and a previous solo exhibition at Utopia Art Sydney in 2001, have come close to being sold out.

Makinti's work is characterized by a complex rhythmic pattern of pale lines over what is typically an orange or ochre field. This can be filled with mauve evening or bright lemon morning hues that speak of the rhythms of the day. Rhythm is the key to Makinti's imagery and it can best be appreciated in the larger works, where the winding patterns of lines establish a distinctive harmony.

Makinti's inspiration for these patterns comes from the hairstring skirts that the Pintupi women wear in ceremonial dance and these date back to those worn by two Ancestral Women figures, the Kungka Kutjarra. And while the patterning refers to the skirts, the flowing rhythms of the lines hint at the songs and dances of the Pintupi women's ceremonies. When looking at the paintings I can feel the dance and see the changing light over their landscape, all at the same time. This effect can be related back to the synasthesia of Kandinsky's paintings early last century, where his paintings elicited music or sound and sound elicited pattern and colour.

It is worth noting that while most of Makinti's imagery is related to the Kungka Kutjarra, it can also refer to the Kuningka - the western quoll, which is represented by circles (refer to Alec O'Halloran's review for a more detailed description).

Makinti's best paintings are harmonius they seem to project themselves forward and even appear to shimmer. This is a quality that is seldom found in paintings you can see it in the best Emily Kam Kngwarray works, with whom I sense Makinti will eventually be seen as an equal in mastery of a unique and beautiful visual language.

Reviewed by Martin Shub November 2002.

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