Chariots (or Webers) of the Gods 1998
Adam Rish with Lily Karadada
ochre on linen, 71 X 56 cm, Kalumburu
In 1986, feeling confined by the flatness of the world and the confines of the rectangle, Rish started making works under a Neo-Baroque thematic, with images spilling onto their stucco, sculpted, gilt frames. The paintings were installed pseudonymously with marginal, explanatory notes describing false historical provenances.
In The Whiting On The Wall the whiting, trapped by a gold frame, is separated from its object of desire, a small painting of an open can of “Imperial” brand worms, the lid of which bears an ‘uncanny’ resemblance to the anamorphic skull of Holbein’s The Ambassadors (1533) (a painting that deals with the futility of worldly goods.)
KAL 007 was originally called Boeing Boeing but in the move to Orange Regional Gallery, in 2013, it was damaged. I felt the holes to be symbolic of the shooting down of the Korean airliner spying for the Americans in 1983 so renamed the work. This is from a series of works which became more distorted as time went on, so a Titanic sank into the floor of the gallery, a Mercedes car disappeared into a lateral wall, and finally frames were placed inside paintings, and according to documentation were stolen or burnt and then disappeared altogether.
Adam Rish and Terry Platt
acrylic on linen 71 X 56 cm
These pictures were shown in two exhibitions Framed and Baroque around the Clock in Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney in the mid to late 1980’s.
In 1994 Rish’s collaborative practice was extended when he visited Delmore Downs, in Central Australia. While at Delmore, sitting outside beneath a tree, Rish produced five paintings with the artists Jessie and Annie Petyarre, Gladys and Elizabeth Kemarre and Joy Kngwarreye. Later he visited many Aboriginal communities working in Balgo, Kulumburu, Turkey Creek, Lockhart River, Cairns and Moree with leading and emerging indigenous artists.
Dewarri (Devil) on the late Show was based was painted on a trip to Turkey Creek in 1997. It was the start of collaborating with senior Gija artist, Hector Jandany, which over the following four years produced many paintings. The devil is from the Gurirr Gurirr Ceremony, a kind of theatre dance with painted images, devised by Rover Thomas in 1975 in the wake of Cyclone Tracy. In this case the image has been upgraded to appear on local television.
Birth of the Nation 1998 Adam Rish with Terry Platt
acrylic on linen, 71 X 56 cm Lockhart River
Balgo Dreaming 1996
Adam Rish, Fred Tjakamarra, Dominic Martin Tjupurrula, Alan Winderoo Tjakamarra
acrylic on linen, 153 X 122 cm, Balgo
Landscape and Memory shows the hills that are the Barramundi dreaming site, near Turkey Creek, where the Argyle diamond mine is found. Even though this is several hundred kilometres inland these large fish are found in small rivers during the wet season. According to Queenie the scales from the fish formed the diamonds. There is a small black dot where two boys crept up and watched a taboo ceremony and were put in a hole in the ground and died. This visual narrative I have put into Western terms hence the book – with eyes as we see via writing – and the pen.
Bark Painting in the Corporate Age was painted on badly damaged bark from Mowanjum, this shows a TV crying television tears. An ancestor figure defecates gold coins into a pot and telephones are hatched like crocodile eggs over the surface of the painting. The surroundings are rolling, red, Kimberley hills.
Birth of the Nation, painted with Terry Platt in Lockhart River X-ray style, shows the creation myth depicted as the birth of technology from a many armed, ancestor kangaroo.
The Good Ship Lollipop 1995
oil on linen, stucco, wood, bronze, 200 X 150 X 230 cm
Boeing Boeing 1995
oil on linen, plaster, bronze
115 X 100 X 160 cm