Among recent works collected from Utopia are these three small paintings by a man named Matthew Mpetyane.
Matthew is eldest son of Kathleen Ngale and Motorbike Paddy, and brother of Janie and Elizabeth Mpetyane. He paints very little, and has kept a low profile living in his community in Utopia in Central Australia.
His style in these paintings reflects the same superimposed dot work that his mother Kathleen and Aunty Polly Ngale use to depict the Conkerberry Dreaming.
Watered down magenta and titanium white paint blend translucently, creating an inky, moody and dimensional work of art.
What captivates us most by these pieces is the painting beneath the painting.
Unknowing of his intentions, we hazard a guess that beneath the surface dotting may have been a painting by his sister Elizabeth - who paints a fine dot technique.
Elizabeth has been known to black out her dots and paint over them if she is not satisfied with her work. It is possible that Matthew and Elizabeth collaborated on this painting, perhaps unwittingly. Or Matthew may have intended it to be just as it is. By the time the canvas reached us, Matthew was nowhere in sight to ask for sure.
"There is a mystique and dreamy mood these paintings impress upon us." - Dale Jennings, Senior Curator
As for the story, according to the Dreamtime, "winds blew from all directions carrying the seed of this sweet black conkerberry over the land. The first conkerberry then grew, bore fruit and dropped more seeds. Winds blew these seeds all over the Dreaming lands." Learn more about the conkerberry.
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