Mandy Martin: Australian artist (born: 1952 - died: 2021) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Mandy Martin
Australian artist

Mandy Martin

Mandy Martin
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Australian artist
Was Painter Artist
From Australia
Field Arts
Gender female
Birth 18 November 1952, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Death 10 July 2021, Orange, City of Orange, New South Wales, Australia (aged 68 years)
Star sign Scorpio
The details (from wikipedia)


Page under construction – 'The mature years' to be completed – 7 August 2020

Mandy Martin is an established and well-known contemporary Australian painter, printmaker and teacher. Martin has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally and was involved in the development of feminist art in Australia from the mid-1970s. In more recent years she uses the art she creates as part of the ongoing debate on climate change, an area in which she is "prolifically active". Based in Canberra for many years with her family, she was also a lecturer at the ANU School of Art from 1978–2003. As well as being a visual artist, Martin is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University.

Early career

After completing her arts training at the South Australia School of Art (1972–1975), Martin actively exhibited her works on paper, including politically motivated posters, before developing her practice and including painting with oils.

Martin made her mark early in her career in the 1975 exhibition Fantasy and Reality 1975 organised by Sydney Women's Art Movement at the University of Sydney with Jude Adams, Frances Budden and Toni Robertson. In 1976 Martin was part of a group exhibition celebrating the American Bicentennial in the small group exhibition America As We See It at the Hogarth Galleries in Sydney, showing alongside Brett Whitley and Ann Newmarch.

Martin had initially pursued her creative expression through producing works on paper. Even though her work had long been about making social commentary, an exhibition of her prints on paper in 1977 examined her restrained interpretation of the subjects of corruption in big business and the exploitation of workers. This exhibition could be seen as a pivotal point in her career as Martin transferred her method of expression through prints and posters to other art mediums, importantly painting with oils. The art critic Sasha Grishin had admired her drawing but hoped Martin would find a less literal way of expressing her ideas. There was a resurgence of interest in poster art in the last 1980s and Martin's early poster work was included in an exhibition at aGOG in Canberra as the issues dealt with in the mid 1970s hadn't changed.


Martin was working and exhibiting in a rapidly changing city. In 1978, James Mollison, Director of the soon to be new National Gallery of Australia was actively purchasing works, described as 'unconventional', for the fast growing national collection, and acquired a number of her prints. Martin also sold her feminist themed, anti-Vietnam posters directly to the Australian War Memorial. Despite having to juggle her teaching and creating art, she would benefit from the increase in interest in Canberra-based artists and the stimulus to the art market that could reasonably be expected to accompany the build-up to the opening of the National Gallery of Australia in 1981.

In 1980 she had her first major exhibition of oil paintings on canvas at the Solander Gallery in Canberra. The Canberra Times art critic Sasha Grishin praised her use of 'thick, well-worked painterly and textured masses' and thought Martin creatively realised 'her own sense of social imagery'. in 1992 Martin exhibited at the Ben Grady Gallery in Canberra in the exhibition Reconstructed narrative: Strzelecki Desert, Homage to Ludwig Becker ' exploring the impact of man on the environment'. The artist retraced the footsteps of Becker through a series of industrial landscapes, a subject matter she had been increasingly exploring and was to become a recurrent theme in her work.

Although not the winner of the 1982 Canberra Times Art Awards, Martin's stand outwork Factory 2 was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria. The then Director Patrick McCaughey described the work as a 'grim and impressive landscape'.

Martin exhibited regularly, often with fellow lecturers at the School of Art in Canberra. Her work was described as 'flowing textured paintings and prints' and the local art critic found 'boundless energy' in her dark industrial landscapes. By 1985, her work was considered to have achieved drama and maturity.

Achieving recognition

Another milestone in Canberra's history was to impact on Martin's professional artistic standing. Prior to the new Australian Parliament House opening in 1988, Martin was commissioned to create a large painting which when completed was 2.8 high by 12.1 wide, and was to be installed in the Main Committee Rooms in the new buildling. The work was in response to Tom Robert's monumental painting of the opening of Federal Parliament in Melbourne in 1901, which in those days was hung in the High Court. Red Ochre Cove was reputed to be the largest work ever commissioned in Australia. Martin worked in an old cow shed in the rustic Canberra suburb of Pialligo where she relied on scaffolding to create her large triptych. She described the painting Red Ochre Cove 'as an Australian coastal landscape set in an industrial timespan'. Martin said she was 'thrilled she was selected by the Parliament House Construction Authority', praising it for 'its entrepreneurial attitude in commissioning works by younger and less established artists and obtaining works that suited the concept of the building, rather than staying solely with the more established names'. With the huge amount of interest in the new building and the art collection that had been amassed, there is little doubt Martin's work achieved deserved recognition.

Prior to the opening in May 1988, Martin was also invited to contribute work to a major exhibition of works from the new Australian Parliament House art collection. Art and Architecture was held at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space and Martin showed her work alongside internationally recognised Australia artists including such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Fred Williams, Robert Klippel and Imants Tillers.

1988 continued to be an important year for Martin. In August she exhibited drawings at the University Drill Hall Gallery at the Australian National University. Again her work attracted the attention of art critic Sasha Grishin. Overall he described the exhibition as being of an 'outstanding calibre' and Martin was included in high praise for the drawings that were neither "provincial nor nationalistic'.

As early as 1989, then art critic for the Canberra Times, Sonia Barron reviewed a group exhibition which included Martin and acknowledged that her theme of the industrial landscape had become quite familiar.

The mature artist

From 1990 Martin has created her strong depictions of the industrial landscape and been invited to exhibit with other significant Australian artists. There has been understandable interest in her work internationally and Martin regularly exhibits internationally.

Martin retired from the Canberra School of Art in 2003 moving to the Central West of New South Wales near Cowra where she has her studio.


Martin was formerly married to Australia artist Robert Boynes and her son is artist and gallery administrator Alexander Boynes.

Other Sources

National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Gallery of NSW

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 07 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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