MANDY COPPES-MARTIN

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Coppes-Martin studied Photography at the Vaal Triangle Technikon and began a diploma in Fine Art in 1993 at the former Technikon Witwatersrand (now the University of Johannesburg). In 2004 she completed het Masters Degree in Fine Art (cum laude). The artist has been a programme manager for several initiatives linked to the Phumani Paper Project, (a poverty alleviation programme based at the University of Johannesburg), namely the UNESCO “Artists in Development Programme, The UJ Archival Paper and Collaborative Mill, the MAPPP Seta Learnership Programme as well as creative direction in paper and pulp for the commercial design market.  In 2012 Coppes-Martin became a full time artist producing work in paper and silk. Her works “Trembling Giant” and “Virgin Pulp” were awarded the runner-up prize in the 2012 Sasol New Signatures competition. These 2 works are currently housed in the Sasol collection.   She has exhibited in numerous group shows in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, as well as in Belgium and the Philippines. 

ARTIST STATEMENT

"I am greatly informed by the physical world and use mostly natural materials such as paper, hemp and silk as a medium of expression. These fibres are mal- leable and easily transform into objects or drawings but they are also steeped in history and significance. I am interested in the physical connection to the material, the subject matter I am working with and the theoretical association with the image and the material.

The life rings of trees inspire me because they offer a concrete connection to the past but which is still confined to the present. I crochet with paper thread from the inside out - much in the same way that a tree develops its life rings. The age and the history of the tree shown to us through the life rings, provide us with an almost nostalgic lament to a life been and gone.

Most of my work is thin or ethereal in nature and it allows me to look through and past the image as it floats. The transparency of the work, and the shadows that fall from the images complete and solidify the relationship that exists be- tween the work, its environment and myself.

The drawings in silk are typically of the human form and our connection with the physical world. The very nature of the silk worm in many ways is similar to the human con- dition. Silk has been a revered fibre for centuries and has been smuggled, kept a secret and stolen. It is spun from an insect that purges and feeds for days in order to pro- duce something that will protect itself only for a few days so that it can be allowed to grow into something that has no eyes nor mouth and that can neither drink nor eat. It continues to mate, lay eggs and pass away. What is left is something beautiful but rather useless in terms of its nat- ural surroundings."

EXHIBITIONS 

2013 - Killing the goose (Solo)

2014 - Marking the Map (Group)

2014 - Materiality (Four-man)

2015 - Latent - not yet real (Solo)

CATALOGUES

Killing the goose - November 2013

Materiality (four-man exhibition) - September 2014

Latent - October 2015

MEDIA

2013 - Mail & Guirdian

2013 - Business Day

2015 - Art Movie Book