Adelaide, South Australia, Australia born 1952
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas
This painting belonged to a series that I painted from drawings made at a number of sites including Lake George or Weerewa, near Canberra. Some of these paintings and drawings drew on the archaeological dig of ancient Aboriginal sites in this area. In this work, ‘break’ not only refers to the geographical gap in the hills but also to my concern at that time with the hole in the ozone layer, and this is why there are other violent atmospheric events occurring in the painting. Other themes, such as the despoliation and degradation of landscape through the industrial colonisation of Aboriginal lands had, and still have in 2002, a consistent presence in my work.
In the same manner in which I still work, I combined images from drawings I had made at far-flung places like the Salt Mines in Salzburg, the petrified fossil forest at Cervantes in Western Australia and the saw-tooth wool mills in the South of New Zealand /Aotearoa (interlocked with the truncated spurs of ancient hills), with images of Lake George. I was aware of Colin McCahon’s paintings, and it was possibly his work which inspired my response to Lake George. Simultaneously I was responding to 1980s neo-expressionism, which was primarily a male domain and therefore a challenge to a feminist in terms of my critical engagement with its aesthetic influences.
Mandy Martin 2002
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002