Judy Watson

Judy Watson / Waanyi people, Australia, b.1959 / Sacred ground beating heart 1989 / Natural pigments and pastel on canvas / Purchased 1990. The 1990 Moët & Chandon Art Acquisition Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Judy Watson 1989/Licensed by Viscopy, 2016

Through paint and pigment Judy Watson offers evidence of intimate encounters with the pulse of the earth, heat, air and moisture – the geographical emblems of her heartland. These allusions link with Australian Aboriginal references to totemic beings or culture heroes who metamorphosed into landscape features such as hills and rocks, and who continue to manifest their presence as meteorological or astral phenomena. In sacred ground beating heart, the unstretched canvas has been stained by layers of wet and dry pigment, creating a velvety, sensuous surface that is then marked by urgent touches of colour. The imagery suggests an aerial perspective of parched land, a vague visualisation of distant memory or the materialisation of an emotion. grandmother's song was made after the passing of the artist's grandmother. Deeply personal and elusive, the painting is imbued with grief, longing and pride for a woman who played a pivotal role in Judy Watson's development as a person and artist.