2 March – 19 March 1983

Mandy Martin, Curved Sawtooth, 1982; oil on canvas; 120 x 180 cm


Mandy Martin's work embodies an ongoing interest in certain formal pictorial propositions together with imagery which reflects her concerns for issues which are to do with role-alienation and its subsequent reduction of the individual in urban society.

Earlier paintings depicted women working in the demeaning roles and psychologically restrictive circumstances of factory and warehouse.

In a gradual shift, the figure disappeared and the bleak warehouse walls with their geometricised, recti-linear patterns; empty, shadowed doorways and bar-gridded windows became, themselves, both vehicle for her now increased interest in the painterly and abstract possibilities of the picture-plane and a powerful visual metaphor for the constriction and death of the human spirit which such places induce.

In the most recent works exhibited here, the static/frontal composition and close-in view of such buildings has given way to dynamic perspective and the viewer is further distanced from the subject - a vista, both monotonous and menacing, of saw-toothed factory roofs painted in apocalyptic reds and blacks looming like jaws against unnaturally lit and thunderous skies.

Their increased size, vigorously painted surfaces and the sense of foreboding and inevitable doom at which they hint, combine to produce the artist's most powerful treatment of her subject to date.

John Buckley

Melbourne, 1982.

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