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Reflections

Break, 1988
oil on linen
280 x 465 cm
Gift of the artist 1997
Photo Matt Kelso

Mandy MARTIN

born 1952

Mandy Martin is an artist of both national and international reputation. Martin was born in Adelaide and studied at the South Australian School of Art (1972–75). She taught at the ANU School of Art from 1978 to 2003 and was a Fellow there from 2003 to 2006. Martin has an enviable exhibiting career and has held more than 110 solo exhibitions in Australia, Mexico and the USA. She has exhibited widely in important group exhibitions in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, USA and Italy. Her works are represented in the National Gallery of Australia, most State galleries and regional, institutional, corporate and private collections in Australia and elsewhere. Her work is also held in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.


Break is a major work in the artist’s oeuvre. It was painted during the period she was working on Red Ochre Cove (1988), the commission she won for the Main Committee Room of Canberra’s new Parliament House. Landscape provides the impetus for Break. At this time in her art Martin’s vision of landscape was one supplied through observation of the land and reading of art historical renderings of the landscape, specifi cally those of the Romantic period and even more relevantly the Romantic Sublime. Here this is visualised in a vast landscape of brooding cliffs, rich golden red skies and intrusive industrial buildings, heavily impastoed and punctuated by striking contrasts of light and dark.. Martin’s landscape is concerned with the complexity of nature and the concomitant complexity of man’s relationship to nature. The presence of the industrial with the natural underscores this.


This is a powerful work that combines the imaginative and the real, the cultural and the natural, history and the present, in a beautiful visual statement whose message is unerringly relevant.


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