Mandy Martin arrived in Queanbeyan from Adelaide in 1978 as an emerging artist, with her primary experience working in the cut and thrust of politically charged community arts. Within just six years she was exhibiting large scale canvases at one of the most prestigious art museums in the world. This exhibition charts the shifts in Martin’s practice over those years, from the sensitive gouaches of her near neighbours and friends, to the expressive drama of the paintings that speak to her deep concern for the environment.
Born in 1952, Mandy Martin passed away in July 2021 and is regarded as one of the most preeminent artists of her generation. While a major commission for Australia’s new Parliament House brought her to national attention in 1988, this new exhibition takes us to an earlier point in her career. As well as charting the rapid shifts in her personal practice, the exhibition also reveals her influence in what was a new art scene in Canberra of rigorous art school training, enthusiastic DIY artist initiatives, and loud and politically charged print making.
In recognition of her Mandy Martin's role as teacher and mentor to a generation of local artists, Canberra Museum and Gallery has collaborated with leading artist Alison Alder to produce a special souvenir poster that celebrates the exhibition and the artist’s legacy. The dynamic design features Martin’s original printing table that she transported to her new home in Queanbeyan in 1978. Ever the pragmatist, Martin labelled the weight with her home address in case it got separated and lost in transit. That table went on to be used by a collective of recent graduates, including Alder, when they established ACME Ink at Gorman House in 1981. Using it, they produced exuberant, humorous and deadly serious posters to support awareness on a range of social causes. After a few years the table went to Megalo Print Studio in Kingston where it remains in regular use today.
By purchasing a copy of CMAG’s very limited-edition poster, you will be supporting the Mandy Martin Fellowship. Established by Martin’s family, and facilitated by leading arts climate advocacy organisation CLIMARTE, the Mandy Martin Fellowship will support ongoing creative responses to the climate crisis.
Martin was a foundational supporter, collaborator and dear friend of CLIMARTE. Beyond the proceeds of your CMAG poster purchase, you can make tax deductible donations to the Mandy Martin Fellowship via CLIMARTE's Give Now page.
Poster price is $25
If you are unable to make it into the gallery to purchase a poster, we can post one to you for $12.80 - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandy Martin, Letterbox 1978, gouache on cold pressed board, 49.5 x 59 cm, CMAG, gift of the artist, 2021
Image courtesy the Estate of Mandy Martin