Born in Western Australia, circa 1971; Lives and works in Kiwirrkurra, Australia
Hypnotic and visceral, Yukultji Napangati's abstract landscapes are a meditation on the way surface relates to body and time. — The Brooklyn Rail, 2019
Yukultji Napangati (b. circa 1971) began to paint in 1996 as part of a burgeoning initiative among Pintupi women to create work independently of their male relatives. Napangati represents a group of women who began to paint—both collaboratively and then on their own—bringing confidence, skill and a renewed energy into Western Desert painting. Most importantly, they found a unique and powerful means to express and preserve their cultural inheritance, and in so doing, develop an aesthetic language all their own.
Napangati’s paintings often depict the land associated with her Dreamings. One important site is the Marrapinti located to the west of Kiwirrkura where a large group of ancestral women camped at a rock hole and performed ceremonial activities before continuing their travels east. In these works, nature is transposed into sinuous, undulating lines, sometimes interrupted by amoeba-like forms which alter the rhythmic totality of the composition. These interruptions create fissures–each represent a new storyline. Even in her more minimalist, linear compositions, Napangati’s mark-making wavers between small tight strokes and slightly looser indentations, which create the extraordinary impression that the paintings are breathing.
Recent solo exhibitions include Shimmer at Utopia Art Sydney (AU) in 2020 and an eponymous exhibition at Salon 94 Bowery, New York (NY) in 2019. Napangati’s work has also been included in numerous significant group exhibitions recently, including Desert Painters of Australia: Works from the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia and the Collection of Steve Martin and Anne Stringfield at Gagosian Gallery, New York (NY) in 2019; and Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia at the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (NV) in 2018, which traveled to the Frost Art Museum, Miami (FL), the Newcomb Art Museum, New Orleans (LA), the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver (CA).
The artist’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (AU); the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover (NH); the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge (MA); the Milwaukee Art Museum (WI); and the Toledo Museum of Art (OH), among others. In 2018, Napangati was awarded the Wynne Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (AU).
The Brooklyn Rail
The New York Times
The Sydney Morning Herald