Like his famous older sister, the late great Emily Kngwarreye, Kudditji Kngwarreye (pronounced goo-beh-chee) has a deserved reputation as an innovator yet at the same time being a well respected artist.
Born around 1928, Kudditji Kngwarreye had a traditional bush upbringing in the Utopia region before starting a long career as a stockman and mine worker. As an Anmatyerre elder and custodian of many important Dreamings, Kudditji was originally inspired by the work coming out of Papunya to paint his own Dreamings, telling of the travels and law of the Emu ancestors. Starting in 1986, his Emu Dreaming paintings, which reflected his traditional upbringing and utilised the very fine dots and symbols, became sought after by major galleries in Australia.
Then, intrigued by the possibilities of acrylic paint and the kaleidoscope of colours now available to him, Kudditji began to experiment with the synthetic polymer paint to eradicate the pointillist style altogether and to use a heavily loaded paint brush to sweep broadly across the canvas in stages, similar to the western landscape plane. These paintings were romantic images of his country, accentuating the colour and form of the landscape including the depth of the sky in the wet season and in the reds and oranges of the shimmering summer heat.
These ground-breaking paintings expressed Kudditji's extensive knowledge and love of his country in a way never seen previously. Some commentators have seen a strong similarity with his sister Emily's work - but it is not clear who was the first to set out on this path. The demand for his earlier, detailed style, however, moved Kudditji to return to it, and it was only in 2003 at the age of 74 that he began to exhibit the extraordinary, saturated colour paintings that have seen his reputation grow nationally and internationally.
His two dimensional spatial constructions innocently refer to Rothko and modernists of the twentieth century. The paintings are documents of an intuitive interplay between artist and creating a spacial tension within the canvas. Kudditji has explored size of canvas as well as form in these intense, beautiful works. A sense of immense space can be felt in the paintings, where massive blocks of stippled colour are laid alongside each other, sometimes using only two colours, while in other paintings a quilt of juxtaposed colours can produce a moody atmospheric landscape effect.
In 2006 Kudditji was named as one of the top 50 most collectible artists in Australia by Art Collector magazine.
Public collections include
Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
Hank Ebes Collection, Melbourne
Guilleman and Sordello Collection, France
Macquarie University, Sydney
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2016, Singing Up Country | Kudditji Kngwarreye, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; Kudditji Kngwarreye - A master painter thee is only one of him, Mandel Aboriginal Art Gallery, Melbourne
2014, Kudditji Kngwarreye, Japingka Gallery, Perth; Earth + Sky, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2013, Kudditji: Landscapes in the Family Tradition, Booker-Lowe Gallery, Houston, Texas USA; Colours of Dreaming | Kudditji Kngwarreye, Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane; The Master Returns, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2011: Kudditji Kngwarreye, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; COLOURFIELD: new paintings, Fireworks gallery, Brisbane
2010, Kudditjy Kngwarreye: My Country, Whitford Fine Art, London; Kudditji Kngwarreye, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2009, Kudditji Kngwarreye, Burrinja Gallery, Upwey, Melbourne; Kudditji Kngwarreye - Recent Works, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2008, 30 Emu Dreamings, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; My Country, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2006, New Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; My Country, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2005, Colours in Country, Art Mob, Hobart, Tasmania; New Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; Waterhole Aboriginal Art, Danks Street, Sydney
2004, My Country, Japingka Gallery, Perth; Kudditji Kngwarreye: My Country - New Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; Waterhole Aboriginal Art, Sofitel Wentworth Exhibition, Sydney
2003, New Paintings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
Selected Group Exhibitions
2016, Spoilt for Choice - a director's choice exhibition, Kate Gwen Gallery, Sydney
2015, Signs and Traces - Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Cultural Institute Zamek, Pozan, Poland; From the Vaults - highlights from the Collectors' Gallery, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2014, Vast Interiors, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2013, Sky and Desert, Foundation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, Switzerland
2012, The Colourists: Kudditji Kngwarreye and Lorna Napurrula Fencer, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2010, Utopia: Eastern Anmatyerre Artists, Neo Gallery, Brisbane; Arnkerrthe - A Tribute to Nancy Petyarre, Astras Gallery, Gold Coast; Summer Collection, Japingka Gallery, Perth2009, Aboriginal Art, Mary Place Gallery, Sydney; Summer Collection, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; Pink 2009, Art Mob Aboriginal Fine Art, Hobart, Tasmania; Utopia 09, Neo Gallery, Brisbane; Size Matters, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney Kudditji Kngwarreye - Pastels new works, new palette, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; Rêves Aborigènes, Musée Arts et Histoire de Bormes-Les-Mimosas, Bormes-Les-Mimosas, France
2008, Black & White: Inspired By Landscape, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney; Central Australian Aboriginal Art - The Ultimate Collection, Alice Sundown Aboriginal Art, Alice Springs; Utopia, Art Equity, Sydney2007, Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings, John Leech Gallery, Auckland
2006, Artist of Utopia Then & Now, Outback Alive, Canberra; Togart Contemporary Art Exhibition, Darwin; Masterwork, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2005, Fresh from the Central Desert, Outback Alive, Canberra Grammar School, Canberra; Ken Field Memorial Art Exhibition, Scotch College, Melbourne; Big Country, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs; Colours in Country, Art Mob Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania2004, Two Senior Men, Art Mob Gallery, Tasmania; Heartbeat - Living Country, Wentworth Hotel, Sydney; Australian Exhibition Centre, Chicago; Spirit of Colour, Depot Gallery, Sydney
2002, The Contemporaries, Contemporary Artspace, Brisbane
1999, Chapel off Chapel Gallery, Melbourne
1992, Tjukurrpa, Museum fur Volkerkunde, Basel, Switzerland
1991, Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1990, Art Dock, Contemporary Art from Australia, Noumea, New Caledonia