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Jirrawun Jazz

Paddy Bedford, Rusty Peters, Freddie Timms, Goody Barrett, Phylis Thomas and Peggy Patrick

14 - 29 August 2003

In partnership with Jirrawun Arts

Click images for full artwork details


Jirrawun Jazz was cooked up by the chef, Dallas Gold for the new group show by the Jirrawun Artists at RAFT artspace.
The name evolved after living with the Gija work. Deceptive in its colour field simplicity, the music that was most conducive to appreciating the paintings was 50’s Jazz.The artists themselves already have the performance presence of stars in their big hats, dark shades and their cool sense of humour.
Jazz would not be the music of choice , for the stars of this show, Goody Barrett, Paddy Bedford, Peggy Patrick, Rusty Peters, Rammey Ramsey, Phylis Thomas & Freddy Timms. Country & Western or singing their own Joonba, Lirrga and Wangga would be more their style, however the Jirrawun artists are happy to be associated with the concept of jazz. The jazz of the 50’s ; the cool black musicians such as Art Blakey, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and others who invented a new language with sophisticated brevity that was the sound of abstract expressionism.

It is with cool economy that ‘the man’, Paddy Bedford makes a strong statement, his paintings are the law. Rusty Peters is the philosopher, his language is tough like Monk. Rusty’s aesthetic is an invented language, he bends his paintings to make them sing. Freddy Timms is at once cool and passionate, a sleeping volcano. His painting takes a line for a walk like a spontaneous sax solo. Rammey Ramsey is back on earth, Rammey is a dancer, as his feet hit the ground you feel it in the guts. His paintings have the same effect.

The singers, the women, Goody Barrett, Phylis Thomas and Peggy Patrick draw us in with a narrative. Goody’s warm tones evoke Nina Simone and take us into the earthy womb of the dreaming. Phyllis a woman of grace and generosity, calls up Aretha Franklin and celebrates life itself with the fecundity of a boab tree. Peggy is a sorceress, her love is boundless but she also reminds us of a past not to be denied. Her stunning statement ‘Tickets’ seduces and shocks in the same way Billie Holiday did with ‘Strange Fruit’

The Western art world still lives in the shadow of New York but there is a ground swell of a new movement out west. Indigenous artists are claiming back Modernism – roll over New York, these Kimberley painters have created JIRRAWUN JAZZ!

Dallas Gold 8/8/2003

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