Showcasing a body of work that spans more than 20 years, local artist Mandy Martin’s exhibition “Mandy Martin: Homeground” was officially opened at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery on Saturday, February 10.
Previously shown in Bathurst, Orange and Penrith, the exhibition “concentrates on Mandy Martin’s deep unease about the landscape in which we live”, with each of the works carefully selected, creating a suite of works that distil the essence of Martin’s practice since she moved to Mandurama in 1995.
Cowra Regional Art Gallery Director Brian Langer said it was exciting to be able to host a regional artist in the gallery.
“It’s one of our roles, to support the work of local artists and this is a special exhibition because Mandy is a local artist, even though she is internationally renowned,” he said.
“And to have an artist or her stature here is fantastic, so thank you Mandy, it’s always a thrill to have these works in the gallery, because they are important works based on Mandy’s lifetime commitment to the environment and our culture around the landscape and what that means to all communities around Australia.
“It’s a great tribute to Mandy’s long commitment to the environment that we have the opportunity to present these works.”
Education editor at The Australian Financial Review and editor of the AFR's 'Review' in print, Mr Robert Bolton, officially opened the show.
He said the work captured the complexity of the Central West region.
“I’ve been a visitor to the Central West since I was a baby and it’s really wonderful for me to be invited to open this exhibition because I feel a very strong feeling when I come to the Central West,” he said.
“I don’t live here, yet when I come here a part of me feels home and that of course is what this exhibition is about.”
“It’s hard to pinpoint what it is about the Central West that is so special but it’s something about the way the land looks, the horizon, the hills, trees, grass, different colours of the sky in the morning and evening, the different seasons.
“Mandy captured that when she first arrived her in the mid 90’s and there is a wonderful series of paintings on the wall, that capture the nature of the landscape especially the complexion of the hills.”
He said Martin’s has a ‘two-level quality”, with questions of custodianship and a love of the Central West.
“When you look at these works of Mandy’s, what she’s telling us is not just how beautiful the landscape is, but how there is a risk that current generations have the ability to damage it, to scar it and we see that in some of the later paintings,” he said.
“It raises that question mark about protection of the environment, but it also says the love of the Central West and that is the really motivating thing all these wonderful paintings capture.”
“Mandy Martin: Homeground” will be on display at Cowra Regional Art Gallery until March 18.