Untitled Document

Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia


Five Distinguished Museums will Present Acclaimed Aboriginal Artists at the Vanguard of Contemporary Art

MARCH 2016— Aboriginal Australian art might not be well known in the USA, but a new exhibition Marking the Infinite, is set to leave its mark on American audiences. Featuring seventy works in mediums that range from paintings on canvas, paper and eucalyptus bark, through to woven installations and video projections, Marking the Infinite presents nine women at the forefront of global contemporary art practice. Beginning September 2016, this major exhibition featuring nine of Australia’s leading Aboriginal women artists will embark on a two-year North American tour.

Organized by the Nevada Museum of Art, Marking the Infinite will travel to museums in New Orleans, Miami, Reno, Washington, DC, and Vancouver, Canada. The tour was formally announced on March 21 at the Australian Embassy by Ambassador Joe Hockey. While many of the artists have established reputations in Australia, in many cases Marking the Infinite will be their first exposure to American audiences. The artists are: Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angeline Pwerle, Carlene West, Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Lena Yarinkura, Gulumbu Yunupingu, and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu.

Although hailing from some of the most remote communities on the planet, the work of these nine women speaks loudly and clearly to our contemporary age. In their beauty and power, they demand to be considered amongst the best artists working in the world today.

The nine artists included in Marking the Infinite are some of the most acclaimed Australian artists working today. All nine women are represented in the collection of the Australian National Gallery, and are regularly included in major exhibitions in Australia. The work of Nyapanyapa Yunupingu is currently on display in the Sydney Biennale, while her sister Gulumbu Yuunupingu’s work forms a permanent feature of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. In 2009, Regina Wilson was included in the Moscow Biennale.

The artists are also revered as matriarchs in their communities. Their artworks are proud assertions of who they are and their pride in their communities. This strength of vision is immediately evident in works that shimmer and swirl, that assert their authority like lightning bolts, or sparkle like the night sky.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a major catalogue, featuring essays by many of the leading experts in the field, including renowned Aboriginal curators Hetti Perkins, Tina Baum and Cara Pinchbeck, as well as anthropologists Howard Morphy and John Carty. The catalogue was edited by Australian Aboriginal art scholar Henry Skerritt, who also assisted Debra and Dennis Scholl in developing the exhibition.

According to Skerritt, “This exhibition does not attempt to survey the entirety of Aboriginal art practice. It focuses on the work of nine exceptional artists, whose art is both culturally specific and globally alert. This puts them in line with many of the most important artists working in the world today—artists like El Anatsui, Beatriz Milhazes or Rivane Neuenschwander. Just like their counterparts around the world, these Aboriginal women are attempting to grapple with what it means to exist in our increasingly connected world.”

The works in Marking the Infinite, are drawn from the collection of Debra and Dennis Scholl, Miami-based collectors and philanthropists. Marking the Infinite will be the second major touring exhibition of Aboriginal Australian art drawn from the Scholl’s collection, following the highly successful exhibition of male painters, No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting, which is touring to six venues in the U.S. during 2015-16.

Unlike No Boundaries, many of the works in Marking the Infinite were commissioned specifically for the exhibition. This allowed many of the artists to work at a grander scale than ever. The results are works of monumental power. During the development of the exhibition Dennis Scholl travelled to remote Australia, to meet many of the artists and visit the country immortalized in their artworks. This involved visiting some of the remotest communities in Australia, including Kiwirrkurra in Australia’s Gibson Desert, and Yirrkala in tropical north-east Arnhem Land.

“I was struck by the relationships of the artists to their ancestral land, each other and to their communities. Having found these artists so personally compelling, I wanted to help bring their work to audiences across North America,” Dennis Scholl said.

Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia is organized by the Nevada Museum of Art : Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts : E.L. Weigand Gallery, Reno, Nevada. It opens at Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA; before traveling to the Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami, FL; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; and the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Exhibition Tour Schedule for
Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia

Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, September 7, 2016–January 1, 2017
Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum Florida International University, Miami, FL, January 28–May 7, 2017
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ, September 23, 2017–January 21, 2018
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, February 17–May 13, 2018
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, June 2–September 9, 2018
Museum of Anthropology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 1, 2018–February 24, 2019