George Tjungurrayi: 2020 Vision

May 2021

May 8 - 29

exhibition essay

George Tjungurrayi is a painter who knows how to get your eyes working, in fact he gives them a workout!

For an artist not brought up in the tradition of western art, and with no ‘art school’ training, he has a gift for making acrylic paint on linen sing. His painterly skills bring his surfaces to life.

The title of the show is a play on the optical intensity he brings to his work and, even with the best eyesight, it is often impossible to keep his work still. In the flesh, the visual dynamics of his compositions really draw you in, to be a part of the action.

George uses subtle devices. He mostly uses a black or red ochre background layer over which he builds his flowing linear patterns. He paints one colour first and his snaking lines build to fill the surface. He follows up with his second colour which flows between the first set of lines, occassionally leaving little gaps  which allow the underpainting to come through. The pull and push of the linear pattern fills his canvases. Whilst giving structure to his work, the thick and thin of two lines beside each other generates a flow and an energy as forms appear and play off each other. The lines often reverberate and create secondary shapes as the eye adjusts to different viewpoints.

George Tjungurrayi is also a consummate colourist, his combinations of colours and subtle tonal adjustments give every work a specific mood and a certain charm.

The thick and thin of the paint layer adds to the rhythm. Each of the lines is made up of small individual brushstrokes and in each stroke the paint draws from thick to thin. This adds a pulse.  it is sometimes really evident and active, sometimes its almost unnoticed, but its still there. Every work has a sense of being made, of coming to life, an inner strength.

2020 was a strange year for us all, but artists are used to spending time in isolation. Tjungurrayi put his time to good use. There is a confidence which shines through in these new works. Some draw from his well established oeuvre but new elements have emerged that show Tjungurrayi still experimenting and evolving.

While there is an optical element to his paintings, George Tjungurrayi is not interested in amusing your eyes, his intent is to draw you in, and for you to experience the power of his paintings.


Christopher Hodges 2021
George Tjungurrayi is a painter who knows how to get your eyes working, in fact he gives them a workout!

For an artist not brought up in the tradition of western art, and with no ‘art school’ training, he has a gift for making acrylic paint on linen sing. His painterly skills bring his surfaces to life.

The title of the show is a play on the optical intensity he brings to his work and, even with the best eyesight, it is often impossible to keep his work still. In the flesh, the visual dynamics of his compositions really draw you in, to be a part of the action.

George uses subtle devices. He mostly uses a black or red ochre background layer over which he builds his flowing linear patterns. He paints one colour first and his snaking lines build to fill the surface. He follows up with his second colour which flows between the first set of lines, occassionally leaving little gaps  which allow the underpainting to come through. The pull and push of the linear pattern fills his canvases. Whilst giving structure to his work, the thick and thin of two lines beside each other generates a flow and an energy as forms appear and play off each other. The lines often reverberate and create secondary shapes as the eye adjusts to different viewpoints.

George Tjungurrayi is also a consummate colourist, his combinations of colours and subtle tonal adjustments give every work a specific mood and a certain charm.

The thick and thin of the paint layer adds to the rhythm. Each of the lines is made up of small individual brushstrokes and in each stroke the paint draws from thick to thin. This adds a pulse.  it is sometimes really evident and active, sometimes its almost unnoticed, but its still there. Every work has a sense of being made, of coming to life, an inner strength.

2020 was a strange year for us all, but artists are used to spending time in isolation. Tjungurrayi put his time to good use. There is a confidence which shines through in these new works. Some draw from his well established oeuvre but new elements have emerged that show Tjungurrayi still experimenting and evolving.

While there is an optical element to his paintings, George Tjungurrayi is not interested in amusing your eyes, his intent is to draw you in, and for you to experience the power of his paintings.


Christopher Hodges 2021