The paintings of Damien Marks and Yilpi Marks cross into new areas of contemporary Aboriginal art. The iconography is inherited form some of the major Aboriginal art figures of the Central Desert movement. Damien Marks was taught by the great artists Billy Stockman, Uta Uta Jangala and Clifford Possum, and the placement of ceremonial artefacts and symbols were important statements in the structures of the paintings.
The compositions of paintings by Damien Marks and Yilpi Marks become more organic, bringing in references to the country and place – ranges and hills, watercourses, rocky ground, flood areas, grass lands and areas for gathering bush tucker. The palette of colour is highly intense, bringing out the contrasts between these various segments of the country. Reds, oranges and browns are built up in certain areas, often to be contrasted to areas of blues, greens and bright yellows, and then to areas of black and white. The whole effect is to create vibrant movement across the canvas, amplified by strong colour contrasts and dramatic shapes.
While some aspects of these paintings suggest the traditional painting style of Central Australia, there is enough urgent energy in these works to say that the style has an edge of the modern. Viewers often see the jangling colour placements and hectic energy as the first impressions received, before all the visual elements come together. The paintings of this team, Damien Marks and Yilpi Marks, have the potential to open up new avenues for their generation of Aboriginal artists. Aboriginal art status – Rising Stars