ARTIST UNKNOWN, South East Australia, An Early Broad Shield, early nineteenth century, 93.4 cm

See the full catalogue here.

With only two weeks until the 2018 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, we're getting very excited about the incredible collection we'll be offering and the people we'll meet. 

The collection, Reverence: Sydney Contemporary 2018, has just launched online and includes artworks by several leading Australian artists - all wrapped and ready to transport north. We can’t wait.

In the meantime I’m using this month’s blog to share five masterworks that we’ll be exhibiting at the fair.

These selected artworks are amongst the finest I’ve handled by the likes of Warlimpirrnga, John Mawurndjul, Tommy Mitchell and Daniel Walbidi. I’m honoured to be showing these in Sydney and I am confident that they will be well received by our northern audience.

First of all, to give further context and narrative to the contemporary works, we will be exhibiting a superb collection of seven shields which have all been sourced from an important private collection in South Australia. Make sure to read the excellent catalogue essay by Carol Cooper in which she helps extrapolate the sometimes awkward questions that these objects conjure up about aspects of our questionable history. A must read.

Within the small group of shields is an outstanding lower Murray River broad shield that, up until recently, was on long-term loan to the South Australian Museum.

This is without question one of the earliest and most exciting shields of this type to have shown on the secondary market.

The shield possesses fluidity both in form and design. The possum tooth-carved designs are simple yet masterful in technique. The meandering lines take your eye on a journey, creating a shimmering effect which was intended to dazzle the opponent and give the traditional bearer status and power.

WARLIMPIRRNGA, born circa 1958 Marawa, 2012, 182 x 151 cm

This leads on to a very well accomplished work by one of the most highly sort-after artists - particularly internationally - Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri.

Very rarely do pictures of this quality with impeccable community art centre provenance come onto the secondary market. You only have to look at the incredible results of the two that appeared at Sotheby’s in London from the Scholl collection to see just how internationally sought-after this artist is.  

And, in my opinion, this work is better.

Much like the incised shield, the composition of this painting has a mesmerising strength, fluidity and power which belies its two-dimensional reality. These pictures become a mind game – who is in control? Your eyes are lead in all directions, constantly forced to refocus to re-establish your bearings.

Although this work will be offered in Sydney, I wouldn’t be surprised if it finds home overseas. Such is the strength in that market.

Ngalyod, 1999, 163 x 88 cm

At the eleventh hour before the Sydney Contemporary catalogue print deadline, you can imagine my sheer delight when this masterpiece by John Mawurndjul appeared before me. Needless to say, I moved mountains to have it included in the exhibition and catalogue, sending a photographer to its home in Sydney and making last minute amendments on the press to guarantee its inclusion.

And what an inclusion it is.

The coincidental discovery of this work and the concurrent retrospective exhibition at the MCA could not be more timely.  Perhaps a handful of works in the MCA exhibition could stand side by side with this masterwork, but I see no better.

This painting has it all – it depicts Ngalyod the rainbow serpent, an important subject for Mawurndjul and one that he returned to many times throughout his career, completed with intense detail in the artist's signature raark designs. With unsurpassed technique, Mawurndjul refracts and reflects with pure precision.

I’ve priced this work at a new secondary market level for the artist, and deservedly so.

Wakalpuka, 2010, 101.5 x 76 cm

This incredible work by Tommy Mitchell was chosen for the cover of my Sydney Contemporary catalogue simply because it’s pure genius. Wakalpuka shows Mitchell at his spontaneous best – bristling with energy and confidence.

In his brief career I don’t believe Mitchell ever painted a bad picture – his ability to transpose the rich colours and stories of his country onto canvas was breathtaking and his market is only just now beginning to catch up.

Only 18 of his works have appeared at auction over the years, which makes me pretty pleased to be offering six at the fair – all fresh to the market and with impeccable provenance.  

Winpa, 2018, 180 x 95 cm

Finally, I see no greater potential in any living and producing Australian artist than Daniel Walbidi. Period.

With a three year primary market waiting list, and impressive auction records in recent years, demand for his work among collectors is clearly very strong.

I see big things - particularly internationally where, at this stage, Walbidi has had little to no exposure.

Winpa, 2018 is a cracking painting in Walbidi’s acclaimed style. The metallics shimmer and glean, the paint puddles and flows. This work is making its first appearance on the market – a primary sale – and is one of six rare paintings by the artist that I’ll be bringing to Sydney Contemporary.

Check out the full online catalogue here.

And to register your interest in any of these artists, make sure you get in touch.

Sydney Contemporary Art Fair will run from 13-16 September 2018 at Carriageworks – Don’t miss us at Booth A10.

D’Lan Davidson.

See the full catalogue here: