• ARTISTS

          Cooee Art has built long-term relationships with Aboriginal and First Nations artists and their not for profit art centres since 1981.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists and develop our exhibition program.

        • Auction Artists

          Cooee Art Auctions works with artists bi-annually across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.

          Read through the profiles and market analysis for the top 200 Indigenous artists

        • SHOP ARTWORKS

          Cooee Art curates ethically sourced art from Australian Indigenous communities that we have formed relationships with for 40 years.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists to consign artworks.

        • New Arrivals

          Cooee Art gallery artworks arrive in our online shop and our gallery spaces weekly.

          Shop new arrivals that coincide with our monthly exhibition program.

        • All Artworks

          Shop online from the full portfolio of available Cooee Art artworks – paintings, sculptures, fine art prints and artisanal objects ranging from $100 – $500k.

        • EXHIBITIONS

          Cooee Art was established in 1981 and is Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery. 

          The gallery has presented the finest Aboriginal and First Nations art through their exhibition program for over 40 years showing the work of over 150 individual artists.

          The Cooee Art stockroom includes contemporary Aboriginal paintings, rare bark paintings and artefacts, early desert boards and acrylic paintings as well as sculpture and limited edition fine art prints.

        • Current

          Cooee Art presents monthly solo and group exhibitions in the Paddington gallery supported by public programs including artist talks and workshops.

        • Future

          Explore forthcoming exhibitions in the Cooee Art galleries and our special event program.

        • AUCTIONS

          Cooee Art Auctions provide an informed and professional approach to buying and selling art in the secondary market. We are a market leader with specialist knowledge and proven results. 

          We offer collectable Australian and International artworks for sale by auction and private treaty. 

          Cooee Art Auctions work with artists, galleries, museums and private collections bi-annually to curate and consign artworks across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.

          Our auctions and previews for potential buyers and collectors are presented in the Cooee Art premium 480sqm hybrid gallery and auction space in Paddington. 

        • Indigenous Fine Art

          Cooee Art Auctions offers bi-annual auctions of significant and highly-collectible Australian Indigenous artworks.

          Our Art Market Analytics provides comprehensive artist profiles and market analytics on Australia’s 200 most important Aboriginal artists.

        • Modern & Contemporary Fine Art

          Introducing Modern and Contemporary Australian and international art.

          We seek to establish new benchmarks for pricing and documentation for artists in the secondary art market

        • Art Market Analytics

          Cooee Art has created a comprehensive art market analytics tool with easy navigation. The information we provide is designed to be an invaluable resource for art consultants, valuers, and industry professionals and to serve the interests of artists, galleries, institutions, art centres, collectors and researchers.

        • Artist Profiles

          Each artist is ranked according to their career, and annual artist ranking index. Detailed profiles, market analysis and performance indicators are provided for a growing list of artists along with the artworks that have achieved their ten highest results at auction.

        • Current Indigenous Art Market

          Provides professional advice on the Indigenous art market in line with other investment categories, thereby serving the interests of artists, galleries and collectors.

        • Consultancy

          The Cooee Art team has been providing expert advice for over 40 years in a Consultancy capacity to offer a breadth of services for the business side of art.

        • Valuations

          Cooee Art Founding Director Adrian Newstead OAM has more than 20 years experience in valuing Aboriginal art and artefacts (pre-contact to Contemporary).

        • EXHIBITION AND EVENT MANAGEMENT

          Cooee Art curates and coordinates exhibitions on behalf of charitable organisations, commercial businesses and galleries in Australia and overseas utilising its extensive contacts with individual artists, artists’ agents, galleries and important private and public collections.

        • ABOUT

          Cooee Art was originally established in 1981 and runs a hybrid art model to represent and support artists in an ethical and sustainable way. We have two galleries, our flagship gallery in the heart of Aboriginal Sydney in Redfern and a boutique showroom gallery in Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach along with a seperate fine art auction wing, Cooee Art Auctions established in 2017. Cooee is now Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery. Since first working with Australian Aboriginal artists in 1981, we have presented the finest First Nations art through exhibitions and events in Australia, Europe, and the Americas.

  • Contact

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Industry Articles & Reviews

TREVOR NICKOLLS

Posted: 03/08/2021
By:nodadev

This week I was saddened to hear that the wonderful Aboriginal artist Trevor Nickolls has passed away at 63 years of age. Trevor was best known for the fact that he represented Australia, with Rover Thomas, at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

He grew up in the suburbs of Adelaide, and began drawing and painting when just eight years old. Though he never aspired to a middle-class lifestyle he studied to become a teacher. A thorough grounding in the theory of Western art during the mid 1970’s put Nickolls in a unique position when, towards the end of his post-graduate degree, he encountered traditional Aboriginal art for the first time. The intellectual climate, strongly influenced by post-modernism, was expanding boundaries throughout the contemporary art world and in this climate the concept of ‘aboriginality’ took hold, mirroring Nickolls’ own exploration of his Aboriginal heritage.

He described meeting with Papunya artist Dinny Nolan in 1979 as a turning point in his life. He was completing his post-graduate studies at the Victorian College of the Arts at the time. The Papunya artists had won international acclaim for their successful adaptation of tribal art into a modern context, while still keeping its secret, ritual meanings intact. With both artists coming from opposite directions, Nickolls felt that it could be possible to synthesize an art style from elements of both cultures. The dotting technique of Desert art and the deliberate addition of rarrk cross hatching enriched Nickolls’ love of dense and complex textures, and new images enlivened his iconographic language. He found that ancient techniques were actually very modern and scientific, commenting ‘everything is moving… you can look at things in a molecular way.’

His appointment as an education officer the following year allowed him to travel, meeting artists and elders throughout Arnhem Land and seeing traditional rock paintings in situ. His understanding of the Aboriginal relationship to the land was no longer only an intellectual one; ‘I was right in it’, he says, ‘it wraps itself around you, full of spirit, the space, the Dreaming, imagining how it was once’. A new mood of relaxation and fulfillment permeated his work. Cramped urban complexities give way to an elemental landscape where figures, trees, animals and waterholes were held in a direct frontal foreground, confronting and engaging the viewer with a powerful sense of mythic relatedness. Tightly patterned dots radiated a vibrant life force, harmonizing the background in a unique rendition of an Australianised Garden of Eden.

He returned to the city sadly disillusioned with the conditions he saw in the Aboriginal settlements he’d visited. Working in Sydney and Melbourne during the eighties, Nickolls once again worked with the imagery of the uncomfortable duality that he felt internally, and perceived externally.

The theme of ‘Encapsulation’, or the alienation of the individual in an industrialized landscape, became increasingly important to Nickolls as a counterpoint to the concept of the ‘Harmony of Nature’. He coined the catchphrase ‘Dreamtime – Machinetime’ to describe the divide between Aboriginal and Western cultures. In ‘Machinetime’, humankind is trapped by its own inventions; a cramped and hostile technological environment where isolated individuals, in cell-like apartments, plug into their television sets, trying to ward off a sense of loss and anxiety as they become increasingly estranged from each other and the earth. ‘Dreamtime’ introduces a relationship to nature that, in keeping with Aboriginal beliefs. It is the source of spiritual sustenance and cultural continuity that underpins the necessary conditions for a life affirming and dignified human existence. Often tightly juxtaposed within one canvas, these two realities collide abruptly with contrasting areas of colour, texture and spatial composition. A recurring language of symbols twine around and into each other; a Rainbow Serpent slides into the shape of the dollar sign; roofs become mouths lined with teeth avariciously swallowing smoke and people.

Trevor Nickolls inventive social comment invariably carried a humorous, yet biting, edge. His imagery integrated a number of Western art conventions including surrealism, portraiture, comic book illustration and cartoon animation, with Aboriginal symbolism such as Desert dotting and Arnhem Land cross hatching, in a delicate balancing act between cultures aimed at uncovering and exposing universal truths. Additional themes in his work included the ‘stolen generations’, the Republic, child exploitation, deaths in custody, the Maralinga bomb tests and corporate branding.

Nickolls’ ability to inscribe his paintings with an experiential quality had always given them an autobiographical leaning, attracting attention for their unflinching honesty. His recurring self-portraits charted the development and progressions of an eclectic and provocative style, reflecting the dilemmas of contemporary life as much as his own fears and longings.

During the final decade of his life he pared detail to a minimum. Colourful and busy textures fall away, leaving basic elements such as a boomerang or spear thrower in a sparse, semi-abstract field. These quieter, meditative works, with warm earth tones and traditional patterns often encompassing a solitary motif, seemed to suggest that his turbulent and conflicting emotions had found some solace.

Since first exhibiting his Dreamtime-Machinetime images in Canberra in 1978 Nickolls had built an extensive exhibition record of more than 50 group and solo shows across Australia, in addition to several in Europe and the United States. In 2009 a solo survey of his works, Other Side Art, was held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.

Trevor Nickolls was a complex artist. He employed an arsenal of iconographic imagery to impart a deep satirical edge on the absurdities of modern life. Though not particularly fond of being pigeon-holed as an ‘Aboriginal artist’ his Aboriginal heritage permeated his imagery and content. This enabled him, throughout a career that spanned more than four decades, to become one of the most potent social and political commentators in the Australian visual arts.

 

Adrian Newstead

Bondi October 2012

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Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021