In a complex composition of colour, light, and texture, Steven Jupurrurla Nelson’s paintings are a sight to behold, at once capturing the eye and drawing the viewer in for more.
With an exquisite eye for detail and masterful technique, the name Van Gogh of the Desert is certainly a fitting one for the artist’s debut solo exhibition with Art Mob. Opening on May 4th at 6PM, Steven’s exhibition is set to dazzle the casual buyer and the collector alike, all while telling the story of his ancestors and their ventures across the desert.
Born in 1978, Steven has been a lifelong resident at the remote Aboriginal community Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs, where his connection to country and his ancestors was fostered and stories of their past were told to him.
In 2014, he began painting at Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, having worked at the art centre for some time, letting influence and inspiration come to him. Now, settled into a style of work, Steven favours ‘janganpa Jukurrpa,’ or brush-tail possum Dreaming,
chronicling stories onto his canvases in bold arrays of colour and texture, his paintings deep and richly layered. His use of acrylic paint allows for these different layers to build upon each other, representing the multifaceted and complex stories of the Dreaming.
Steven’s talent is clear across all of his works, from his boldly colourful paintings to his more paintings created in more muted, subdued hues. In each of them there is a story to follow and a path to be traced, and though Steven does not explicitly tell the journey that his painting represent for either himself or the viewer, there is a gravitas to all of his works,
a complexity that demands attention and commands respect. There is something of the stars within Steven’s work, mapping the courses travelled by his ancestors in bold colours and line that seem to mirror the night sky.
Steven Jupurrurla Nelson’s exhibition, Van Gogh of the Desert, opens on May 4th at 6PM at Art Mob. Paintings will be available for sale both at the exhibition and online, but you best get in quick – Steven’s work isn’t expected to last long on the market, with one collector admitting she already owns 7 of Steven’s paintings and will no doubt add more to her collection. This is an artist to watch and an exhibition not to be missed. Van Gogh of the Desert runs from May 4th until May 18th.