Playing With Fire

Art Life , Exhibitions Nov 14, 2014 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

Mandy Martin‘s Playing with Fire is a series of paintings that are the result of a two year study in the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area around Lake Gregory in the south east Kimberly. The paintings are for the most part very large indeed, three coming in at 300×300 centimetres, two at 200×200 and nine more from 100×100 and up. Using pigment and oils on canvas, these are epic images that both celebrate the panoramic sights of that land while conjuring the vast, apocalyptic scale and imagery of 19th century Romantic vistas, particularly works by John Martin that presented Bible scenes akin to Hollywood epics.


Martin’s project doesn’t see so much at odds with those Romantic painters either, not only because the word ‘sublime’ is deployed in the gallery press release, but more because the mixture of the sacred and the profane runs through the imagery, a link between the quietude of landscape imagery and the turmoil of industry – open cut mines, lines of giant trucks, a lone figure pushing on into Turner-esque dust clouds. Another baker’s dozen of smaller images – all landscapes of untouched nature – tips the balance from the inhuman and gargantuan to a contemplative and human-scaled experience of place.

Until December 7
Australian Galleries, Paddington
Pic: Mandy Martin, Incident 1, 2014. Pigment and oil on linen, 150x150cms.

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Andrew Frost

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