Part Four – Research point: Landscape Painting

Landscape painting is a wide area and I feel that I have to condense my research to the most relevant ones to my own approach. I will look rather at those artists that attract my attention either by visual impact, uncommon use of material, or unique perspective and approaches. Landscape can have a meaning from idyl, refuge and retreat from everyday busy life.

Landscape painting has a long tradition and it is going back to the 16th century when landscape painting flourished as an independent genre in the Dutch Republic and in the Spanish Netherlands. Jacob van Ruisdael (e.g ‘Wheat Fields‘, 1670) was a great painter who influenced european landscape painting for the next two centuries. And this mainly because there was and is a basic human need in a relationship between civilization and nature that requires expression. (Liedtke, 2014).

John Constable (1776 – 1837), a Suffolk artist  was one of the first landscape painters to work from direct observation. He developed a unique style combining direct studies of nature with a deeply personal vision of the countryside round his neighbourhood. He never left England searching for sublime and picturesque  landscape as other artist of his time did. His approach to landscape is an emphasis on naturalism contrasting with the traditional landscape approach. (See Barker, 2004b).

The new romantic watercolor style developed around 1800 employed freer brushwork—often applied to rough-textured papers—and sought to capture fleeting atmospheric effects. Contrasting to the rather ‘tinted drawings’ of previous watercolour works. An example of the transition of the watercolour works and a new romantic notion is ‘Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland’, 1796-97 by Thomas Girtin.

Constable did Intensive studies of clouds and skies enabled Constable to achieve these unique atmospheric effects. In 1821 and 1822, during his intense “skying” period, he produced dozens of watercolor, crayon, and oil studies of the clouds over Hampstead Heath.

Examples: ‘Cloud Study‘, 1821 and ‘Sketch at Hampstead: Evening, 1820 and ‘Seascape Study with Rain Cloud, 1824

These studies are painted rapidly, wet-in-wet, and with short strokes and a limited color palette to train his hand and eye. Almost all of his sketches are labelled diligently and with scientific precision with the specific location, date, time, wind, and weather conditions. He used his studies as aides mémoires in composing his oil paintings. His ultimate goal was to paint the sky with enhanced realism. Constable considered this as the landscape’s “chief organ of sentiment”.  (Barker, 2004a). The evocative oil paintings were created in artist’s studio in London, based on his open-air sketches of parts of the scene and an intermediate full-size preparatory sketch in oil to establish the composition.

Examples: ‘Hampstead Heath with Bathers‘, 1821-22 (24.4 x 39.1 cm) and ‘The Hay Wain, 1821 (130.2 x 185.4 cm)

But his studies are more than preparatory works for his oil paintings. They convey with their complexity as improvised works a sense of spontaneity that would consider them even today as ‘modern’. In his time it was surely considered revolutionary. In 1821 Constable wrote:

But I should paint my own places best—painting is but another word for feeling.”

This was 53 years before the first French Impressionist exhibition in 1874. (Princeton, 2012)

During the last seven years before his death Constable made a series of 20 mezzotints based on his paintings as kind of a summary of his career. The engraver David Lucas created prints conveying Constable’s intention—to illustrate the “chiaroscuro of nature.”

The mezzotint ‘Summer Morning‘, 1830 (30.5 x 44.3 cm) is developed from dark to light with a wide range of tones.

During the time of industrialisation in the 19th century nature was more than spending ones leisure time in a picturesque environment. Quite often it was connected with a sense of nostalgia. For me a great example for that  are the painters of the Haagsche School (1860 – 1900)  a movement in the Netherlands in a romantic tradition back to the mid 19th century (Jozef Israels, Jacob and Willem Maris, Constant Gabriel Henrik Willem Mesdag and Anton Mauve and others). Main subject matter for them were the dutch landscape with the polders, seascapes and an expansive sky. Key interest was the deficient of light and atmosphere and they spend mot of the times working plein-air. They were inspired by the french movement of the Barbizon School (1830 – 1870). The colour palette was rather muted with greyish shades at the beginning. The depicted landscapes are showing pure landscapes and at times with a rather nostalgic view on ships in the area of Scheveningen. The  environment changed; railways, factories and structured ports were built, not yet depicted in the works by the painters. Reminds of nowadays ads of vacation resorts when you see on the photos just the nice and beautiful things and after arrival you are disappointed by the ‘real’ view around.

A second wave of Haagsche School painters as Isaac Israëls, George Henrik Breitner and Willem de Zwart moved more away from the romantic tradition towards realism and later toward impressionism. With that redirection the colour palette became more lighter and and brushstrokes bolder. Vincent and Gogh and Piet Mondriaan were painters who initially learned from the Haagsche School. Examples of works are available from: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/rijksstudio/stijlen/haagseschool [accessed 18 Oct 2016]

Gallery of some Haagsche School paintings:

The Barbizon School around Jean Francois Millet, Theodor Rousseau, and Charles Francois Daubigny was created in the wave after the exhibition of John Constable at the Salon de Paris in 1824. The french artists moved away from a rather formal approach and got inspiration from nature in the Forest of Fontainebleau. Jean Baptiste Camille Corot joined later the group. The intention for them was too move away from a purely romantic perspective towards a more realism depiction of landscapes.  Millet added people into the landscape and a shift from the rich towards the bottom of the pyramid was articulated in his scenes of peasants. Millet’s peasant works inspired Vincent van Gogh for his farmers drawings and paintings.

Barbizon and the Forest of Fontainebleau was more than just a location; it was a motif.  The natural geography was transcended, was inspirational and nurturing. The painters were on a quest for landscape’s metaphoric power and Barbizon was the answer.

The Barbizon School and its plein-air painting had strong influences on artists in Paris and the Impressionism around Claude Monet and Pierre August Renoir. The impressionists moved along the path prepared by Barbizon and they came “carrying with them their factory-made satchels with metallic tubes of new pigments and their modern ways of seeing” (Amor, 2007)

Plein-Air painting and the modern movement of urban sketching do have a strong revival in the USA and Europe. Those movements are going back to the initial approach by Constable and the following metaphoric approach by Barbizon and its followers as the Haagsche School or the American Barbizon.

Gallery of some Barbizon paintings:

 

With modern art movements as the ImpressionistsNeo-Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists the landscape was use as a subject for further exploration of the nature of visual perception. They went beyond representation, the painting as such became the subject for presentation. The artist were depicting the subjective impact of the surrounding environment on their perception. The Impressionists painted en plein-air and the paint was applied impasto with thick layers and use of complementary colours. With the invention of photography competing with representational paintings the subjective expression became a dominant area for those painters. Something they believed photography can not deliver on.

Claude Monet explored in his series of around  30 paintings of ‘Haystacks‘ between 1881 and 1891 the natural light and colour perception depends on day time and season. Examples are ‘Meules, milieu du jour 
[Haystacks, midday] ‘, 1890. Oil on canvas (65.6 x 100.6  cm) and ‘Haystacks (Effect of Snow and Sun)‘, 1891. Oil on canvas (65.4 x 92.1 cm)

One of Monet’s later painting ‘Agapanthus‘, 1914-26 was done outdoor in his famous garden. A garden of extravagance as it needed six gardeners to maintain it. The painting is done with fluent and bold brushstrokes. The picture seems to vibrate of movement. The

New developments in psychology and colour theories (Michel Eugène Chevreul and Charles Blanc) looked deeper into colour perception, the human state of mind and emotional connotations associated with light and colour. This influences the Neo-Impressionists (peak around 1886-1891) as they were seeking in a rather academic manner to combine new optical and psychobiological findings with their subjective exploration of the real and the ideal.  Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Camille Pisarro were the main artists developing this movement.  One main aspect was the divisionism of colours (Pointillism)

In my exhibition visit on Paul Signac I could enjoy the ink and wash paintings made on location as well as his project of depicting all the french ports in watercolour. Signac’s later watercolour paintings are made at times in a rather coloured drawing manner. He used rather pure colour. The collection of his plain-air watercolour paintings are available from: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/list.php?m=a&s=tu&aid=459 (Schaffeld, 24 May 2016)

The Post-Impressionsists (peak around 1886 – 1905) were rejecting the Impressionists concept of the natural depicting of light and looked more into new expressive articulations with distorted forms and at times use of unnatural and random choice of colours. Geometric forms played an important role and symbolic meanings were introduced. In this movement other Cloisonnism, Synthetism, and Symbolism were main aspects by a group of artists around Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat. Harmony and structural aspects of the composition were dominant. The Fauves and the movement of Cubism ended the period of Post-Impressionism.

Paul Gauguin (1848 -1903) was trying to escape the European civilisation and to find aesthetic and spiritual inspiration on Tahiti. His painting ‘Haere Mai‘, 1891. Oil on burlap (72.4 x 91.4 cm) depicts a rural landscape idyl, a kind of ‘virgin nature’. Gauguin applied rather thin layers of paint with visible brush strokes and in saturated colour. The coloured areas are rather flat, at times blended with brushstrokes. The scene is without people, just with some animals.

This kind of painting was and is considered as ‘Primitivism‘, a concept derived at the end of the 19th century.  The underlying desire was to discover a romantic paradise yet ‘hidden’. There was a fascination for a ‘uncivilised’ world and for earthy sensual pleasure. A concept that in contemporary reception is been considered carefully as there is notion of hegemony and humiliation in the context of colonialism. Gauguin and artists of the group ‘Die Bruecke‘ (see my notes on the exhibition Otto Mueller – click here) were seeking rather sensual and erotic pleasure from a emphasise of eroticization of the “primitive”. The myth of Arcadia was reborn at that time.

The Surrealists artists turned towards a landscape of the unconsciousness like the forest paintings by Max ErnstThe Forest (La fôret)‘, 1927-28 (Oil on canvas, 96.3 x 129.5 cm) a painting created with various materials and a frottage technique. Ernst also applied the technique of Decalcomania. The image has an eerie and dreamlike appeal, threatening and out of reality.

Modern and contemporary approach to landscape painting:

I researched other and mostly contemporary artists on landscape paintings in previous posts:

Robert Diebenkorn (1922 – 1993) & John Virtue (b. 1947)- Available from: http://ocapainting1.stefanschaffeld.com/?p=2630

Tacita Dean (b. 1965)  – Available from: http://ocapainting1.stefanschaffeld.com/?p=2626

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) & Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) – Available from: http://ocapainting1.stefanschaffeld.com/?p=2597

Bonnard made dense colourful landscape paintings with variety of color blots and ‘Landscape in the South (Le Cannet)’, 1943 (Oil on canvas, (64.1 x 71.1 cm) The green path is nearly the only indication of perspective, although it seems that colour blots are flattening out the picture plane. It resembles a pathwork of paint, stitched together in oil on the canvas.

Claude Monet (1840 -1926), Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) , Peter Doig (b. 1959), and Nicolas Herbert (b. 1955) in: Landscape in series –  Available from: http://ocalog.stefanschaffeld.com/?p=1703

L.S.Lowry (1887- 1976) , George Shaw (b. 1966) and Sarah Woodfine (b. 1968) in: Research Point – Landscape –  Available from: http://ocalog.stefanschaffeld.com/?p=1692

Related to painting I do find the use of enamel paint quite fascinating (George Shaw) as it creates a quite flat and shiny surface. Peter Doig’s quite mystic painterly works at times in context of E. Munch, and C. Monet’s series of the haystack with the exploratory approach to light and color. Sarah Woodfine adds another dimension in prevention of landscape by her use of glass cabinets reminding me of little stages and using the surface for her works not flat but twisted or curved in resonance with the subject matter.

Zhang Daqian (1899–1983) a chinese painters based in ancient traditions who mastered various styles and I especially find his expressive color splash paintings extraordinary.

The modern abstract painting ‘Splashed-Color Landscape, 1965 (Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, image: 60.3 x 95.9 cm) combines chinese and western traditions.  Zhang refers here to the “broken-ink” techniques of random splashing and soaking used by Tang-dynasty (618-906) artists. This work is a appeal for the spontaneity of the composition with a seemingly random ink and color application. Later added contours lines and more details makes the painting an expressive and atmospheric image. One can sense the storm and the natural forces. Another example is ‘Boat in splashed-ink Landscape, 1963 (Scroll, mounted on Japanese board and framed, ink and color on paper, 36 x 43.3 cm.) More images available from: http://en.cafa.com.cn/vast-territory-of-the-motherland-zhang-daqian-art-exhibition-opening-january-20-at-the-national-art-museum-of-china.html

I find Zhang Daqian ink and wash paintings quite fascinating for their combination of coloured and void areas alongside a combination of painting and drawing elements.

Fred Williams (1927 – 1982)  Australian painter and printmaker and one of the major landscape painter of the 20th century. As a landscape painter Williams produced gouache sketches from life and worked these up in oil in the studio through series of oil studies, frequently also producing etchings. Williams combined a strong sense of place with abstract pictorial spaces.

Williams’ made in his last years more than 100 gouache paintings in his ‘Pilbara series‘, 1979-82 from the far north-west Australia thinly populated landscape, e.g.  ‘Red Landscape’, 1981 (Oil on canvas, 153 x 182 cm).  The paintings convey his representation of the landscape and his vision, at times towards a symbolic meaning. The rather flattened surface have at the top of the composition often a horizon line with the sky painted in flat light grey.

His approach to painting was articulated in a deliberately use of colour towards abstraction of landscape. Looking at paint itself with a layering onto the surface. The paintings do present his physical and emotional experience of the landscape.

His painting ‘Upwey Landscape‘, 1964-5 (Oil paint on hardboard, 152 x 129 cm)  was known for that he out the support upside down while he made it in order avoid depicting the scene too literally and to focus more on the formal elements of the painting. This painting do convey the spareness of the Australian desert with no focal point, as “in Australia there is no focal point”. The title of a real, named geographical location offers the viewer a real landscape. Nevertheless the painting itself is presented in an abstract way with geometric pattern of lines and blobs of paint.

As from my previous research on large scale painting and the possible development of multiple smaller works into one larger one (click here) I am fascinated by the later works by Williams with the subject matter of beachscapes. Williams became interested in the movement of the sea and the influence of color and light over the time of the day. A similar approach as done by Constable with his scientific analytical approach and by Monet’s approach on ‘Haystacks‘. He produced a series of paintings on islands in the Bass Straight between Victoria and Tasmania:  ‘Beachscape, Erith Island I‘, 1974 (Gouache and sand on paper) and  ‘Beachscape, Erith Island II‘, 1970 (Oil paint on 4 canvases, displayed: 180 x 203.6 cm). The human presence was depicted through small figurative details and by addition of footprints in the sand. The chosen format of multiple strips implied  ‘sectional slices through time and space‘.

Richard Hamilton (1922 – 2011)

Soft Blue Landscape’, 1979 (Collotype and screenprint on paper, 728 x 920 mm) and ‘Soft Pink Landscape‘, 1980 (Lithograph and screenprint on paper, 724 x 915 mm) are two landscape images that he produced in response to a group of advertisements for a new coloured line of Andrex toilet papers in the 1960s. In Hamilton’s appropriation if the imagery the scale of the toilet roll is reduced to a more natural size. The painting approach is nearly in an impressionistic manner. The roll of toilet paper is rendered more realistically so that it stands out from the soft, fluid imagery of the background. Hamilton commented:

“Nature is beautiful. Pink from a morning sun filters through a tissue of autumn leaves. Golden shafts gleam through the perforated vaulting of the forest to illuminate a stage set-up for the Sunday supplement voyeur. Andrex discreetly presents a new colour magazine range. A pink as suggestively soft as last week’s blue – soft as pink flesh under an Empire negligée. The woodland equipped with every convenience. A veil of soft focus vegetation screens the peeper from the sentinel. Poussin? Claude? No, more like Watteau in its magical ambiguity.”

“Sometimes advertisements make me wax quite poetical. None more so than the series by Andrex showing two young ladies in the woods. I have, on occasions, tried to put into words that peculiar mixture of reverence and cynicism that ‘Pop’ culture induces in me and that I try to paint. I suppose that a balancing of these reactions is what I used to call non-Aristotelian or, alternatively, cool.” (Tate summary on the image)

Alex Katz (b. 1927) an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker based in New York is often associated with the Pop Art. Katz took inspiration from mid-century American culture and society and sourcing from  television, film, and advertising. He is a modern painter of distinctive portraits  and of lyrical landscapes.  His works convey a flattened surface and with a economy of line and paint, characterized by  wide brushstrokes and large areas of color. His body of work is between abstraction and representational realism as demonstrated in his large scale painting ‘Sunset 1‘, 2007 (Oil on canvas, 48 x 66 inches) and ‘Path‘, 2006 (Oil on linen, 72 x 48 inches). The latter a landscape with downwards vies without horizon line.  Katz used landscape often for his figurative painting as background image as in ‘Rudy‘, 1980 (Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches)
Katz made also smaller scale oil sketches  (around 23 x 32 cm) about he says “A sketch is very direct. It is working empirically, inside of an idea.” He began painting beach scenes in the late 1990s, painting ‘en plein air’ in an attempt to grasp the colour and light of a specific moment. Examples are ‘Ocean View‘, 1992 (Oil paint on fibreboard, 231 x 320mm)  and ‘Grey Marine‘, 2000 (Oil paint on hardboard, 230 x 305 mm).

Katz spends his summer holidays painting in his second studio in Maine. This studio is situated on a pond filled with water lilies. In reference to Monet’s waterlilies he made from life a small study: ‘Homage to Monet‘, 2010 (Oil on board, 228 x 305 mm) He made later a series of large scale paintings from it.

 

Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945) a German artist who takes reference to the German romantic tradition as Casper David Friedrich and interweaves it with multiple historical layers of meaning. He applies various materials that at times have significant symbolic meaning. His paintings do build on the tradition of sublime, greatness and the transcendental nature. He bases his works on religion, myth, and history and later in his neo-expressionistic period after 1980 focusing on the spirituality of man and the inner state of mind.

  • Winter Landscape‘, 1970. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper (43.2 x 35.9 cm) – click here
    => Kiefer uses the landscape subject to generate layers of meaning with a metaphorical message. Black and bleaded areas alongside a disembodied face (nature Daphne?) with evocations of WWII.

– ‘The Land of the Two Rivers (Zweistromland)’, 1995. Emulsion, acrylic, lead, salt (produced by electrolysis using a zinc-plate condenser) (416 x 710 cm)
=> A reference to ancient mythology and the transcendental nature of that era.

Sketchbooks as a visual interrogation of landscape painting:

Sketchbooks with sketches and studies on site can act as the source for studio practice, to capture and express an embodied experience of a location. John Constable (see above) used those studies in a nearly scientific manner but nevertheless created spontaneous sketches that even today appeal through intimacy.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London collection provides a good overview of Constable’s oil sketches – click here.

Emma Stibbon (b. 1962) british artist

Stibbon is intersted in the monumental impressions of landscapes that are typically at the edge of human experience and for that she travelled to wide destinations: Antarctica, Island. Drawing, at times at large scale and monochromatic, from her own sketches and photographs is her favorite practice.  Her studio works and sketchbooks on site are a recording of her responses to the physical appearance and psychological impact of the natural environment. Large scale works on paper that convey at times a romantic appeal and at the same time builds on the dramatic effects of human presence and natural phenomena on structures. I find her approach in simplifying and focusing on bold contrasting elements quite powerful and I can feel a sense of the fragility of human existence.

I find her sketchbook studies in watercolor and ink she made during her antartica ship tour amazing. I can see a link to chinese painting style by Zhang Daqian. I do admire the limited palette and the bold tonal contrasts. The painted planes are really providing an illusion of forms and atmosphere. – click here.

About sketching outdoors she finds that “the act of drawing from observation is quite a different hand-brain sequence to drawing in a studio where perhaps it is more consciously framing and composing an image. The way your eye is processes information while drawing in front of a subject is something perhaps visceral or physical about the elements your are in that comes through your drawing.”

She herself is intrigued by the question: “In the 21th century with the technologies we have whether there is still a role for a contemporary artist in looking and observing through drawing“.

Further images are available from: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/artist/emma-stibbon-ra

John Virtue (b. 1947) a british painter who explores landscapes and how they can be represented and our human relationship to it. He considers himself rather an abstract and not a landscape painter. Most of his hard to read landscape paintings are informed by his own sketchbook drawings, at time over 100 of them. (see also Schaffeld, S., weblog post 19 Oct 2016 – click here).

john-virtue-sketchbooks

Images of his sketchbook collection – click here. His sketches are a constant dialogue between nature and him and his visual interpretation

 

Landscape painting as reflection of environmental concerns:

Various artists inspired by looking in a new way of our relationship with nature embraced the so called Land Art movement. Artist literally sculpted the environment as eartworks like Robert Smithson e g. ‘Spiral Jetty, 1970 and James Turrell e.g. ‘Roden Crater‘, 1976 (ongoing). Their practices went under discussion regarding the immense movement of earth and use of trucks to get material on site. The human responsibility for ecosystems and new voices raised for a more sustainable approach.

Many artists are nowadays concerned with what is called ‘Art in the Anthropocene‘, the current geological age where the human have a dominant impact in environment and the climate change. (Davis, 2012).

Searching for painting in the anthropocene I came across two different artist who work with the materiality and often with pigments sourced from location (Available from: https://abstractgeology.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/geophilosophy-and-the-anthropocene/ -[accessed 22 Oct 2016].

Seana Reilly (b ) an Atlanta, Georgia based american artist uses liquid graphite pouring on dibond, graphic film, aluminium, and paper. – available from: http://sreilly.com/pours/

In a nearly contemplative approach Reilly applies materials in awareness of the moments in which they interact resulting in images of great beauty and balance. She applies a rather scientific approach to the preparation of graphite, solvents and binder mixes and setting up the frames. The execution itself is rather a random and joyful play for her avoiding any judgement in the making. She takes inspiration from the physical phenomena (movement and erosion) and work at the liminal experience and understanding, between the western scientific and over-intellectualized approach and the eastern contemplative observation.(Lynch, 106)

Example: ‘GenetiveCase, 2011 (graphite on Dibond, 12″ x 12″). I can relate to Reilly’s struggle and liminal experience between intellect and experience. The bottom line is that one need to get to the physical world and get a full embodied experience of the natural world around us and have fun with experimenting with materials and phenomena.

Leslie Shows (b. 1977) Los Angeles based artist – available from: http://leslieshows.com/#

In her paintings she uses natural and manmade materials such as sand, Mylar and aluminum to construct dense, three-dimensional landscapes or stratum. As abstract paintings they do relate to structure generating processes and representations of minerals and geological forms. Shows interest is in scale, spatial and time related to geological phenomena.

One example is her painting ‘Tutela‘, 2015 (sand, canvas, ink, acrylic, aluminum; 56″x 120″)  that shows a very textural dimensionality with a glyph like shape. I find this abstract sculptural paintings quite hard to read. Somehow a painting that want to get out from a flat surface. Shows talks therefore also about ‘sculptural painting’.

Shows describes her works as “hardenings or crystallizations of thought in time.” She works along the metaphorical links of geological, thought and painting processes. She refers to Robert Smithson’s essay ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind‘, 1968  which describes how “one’s mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion. . . .brain waves undermine cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing. . .”   As in earth processes layers are out together to create eventually a solidified form, her metaphorical thinking is representated by multiple layers in the painting process. The use of materials reflects the variety of qualities like translucence, reflectivity, illusion, roughness, crystallinity, fluidity – useful vocabulary for the hardening of her thought process. Shows associates doubling and mirroring in her works with her reflective self-consciousness. (Moss, 2015)

Overall her approach to painting in a metaphorical dimension resonates with the metaphorical approach to film by A. Tarkovsky. Also it brings me back to my personal project from Drawing 1 (click here) where I investigated with found materials from the ancient river Aare in Switzerland the process of materiality and geological processes. Therefore I find her works very intriguing.

Mandy Martin (b. 1952) an Australian painter who lives in Mandurama in Central Western NSW.

Her working practice involves working on site with her sketchbook and she says “I paint and draw in the landscape. I literally take a crate of canvases or framed or stretched paper and a sketchbook.“(Colley, 2015). She adds also found pigments in location to her works.

Central concerns are environmental issues relating to water security, the impact of the region’s coal-fired power stations and open cut mines. For her it is important to talk not only about the degradation of the environment but also talking about what need to be preserved. Her goal is to make people think and to engage with her work and the subjects. In her neighbourhood, 20 km away from her studio, is one of the world largest gold mine. Martin is interested in fire and the issue of bushfires are a constant concern for her that she visualises with her works e.g. ‘Storm at Sunset’ and ‘Burning Blackall‘. 

Her works explore the feeling of unease when the initial plume of smoke is seen or when things in the landscape change.

The series Wanderers in the Desert of the Real, 2008 is an excursion into the sublime and terror of the landscape. Martin takes great reference from Turner as in the paintings ‘Wanderers in the desert of the real; Hanibal passing over the Alps, after Turner, 2008 (Ochre, pigment, and oil on linen, 100 × 150cm) and ‘Wanderers in the desert of the real; Snowstorm: Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps, after Turner, 2008 (Ochre, pigment, and oil on linen, diptych, overall 180 x 270 cm).  In this series Martin juxtaposed pristine and resilient landscapes and industrial landscapes as ‘Wanderers in the Desert of the Real 3′, 2007 (ochre, pigment and oil on linen, 30 × 40cm)

Online images available from: http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/artists/25/Mandy_Martin/1086/ [accessed 21 Oct 2016]

Mandy Martin and Alexander Boynes:
– ‘Blast , 2015 (180cm x 320cm) pigment and oil on linen, digital projection 16:9, 2’20” duration, silent.
=> About carbon emissions by mining trucks and wholesale destruction of environments.
– ‘Willow Yellow‘, 2016 (180cm x 320cm) Pigment, Ochre, Oil, Fluoro Stock Markers on Linen, HD Projection, Silent, 2’30” duration.
=> The combination of painting, digital protection and temporal elements mimics the 24/7 operation of the mine.

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery: ‘Mandy Martin: Homeground Mini Doco trailer‘ (YouTube video, 2:31min) – click here

Martin is also involved with the Arnhembrand project (click here) that seeks to raise awareness of the work by Indigenous communities living in west Arnhem Land to preserve their unique culture and ecology. It is an art, science and stories project, using new mediums and technologies to work with the communities to give voice to the cultural and environmental challenges they face and to push their artistic boundaries.

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