There is something awe-inspiring about Sue Martin. She is clearly serious about her art, the style and subject matter of which has been evolving ever since her days as a Fine Arts student at the University of Natal.
Sue works using the multi-media disciplines of photography, painting and printmaking. She has always been fascinated by the ever changing environment and is inspired by the ephemeral nature of her surroundings. “ As a child growing up on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal, I saw young men packing up their lives to seek work in the cities. It sparked a real interest in the migratory patterns of South Africa’s people."
Every new series of work that Sue embarks on is the culmination of a deeply meditative and creative process. She is a highly conceptual artist with a strong message in all her work. Having studied art at a time when drawing was still fashionable, she is a fine draughtsman, with every line conveying the intended meaning of her work. Her art is indeed ‘fine’.
Sue is constantly experimenting with media. In her previous highly successful series, City of Gold which captured the men who had left their rural homes to come and work on the mines, she used photographs of abandoned mines. These she transferred onto steel sheeting giving a faded sepia effect. She then works with veils of colour by applying layers of beeswax and oil pigment, which, when fused together by heating the surface with a flame before applying a new layer, creates a dreamlike quality. “I was aiming to give the painting a washed out faded quality, similar to the faded archival photographs that they capture. Like the photographs, the mines to are fading into obscurity."
This idea about the changing nature of the landscape has been carried into her new series where she both celebrates the iconic nature of the old mine heads, many of which have been mothballed.
“I was lucky enough to be given access to some disused mining properties where I photographed the rusty remains of once industrious sites. I then combined the element of the iris flower, which to me, represents a colonial, bygone era, blooming so magnificently for a short period of time. Something alien and foreign to the harsh high veld landscape."
The digital print, on Hahnemuhle paper, is overlaid by a mono print. This limited edition is varied because each mono print has it’s own hand drawn quality, reminiscent of a hand coloured post card.
Sue will be showcasing her new series “Lie of the Land” at Design Joburg at the Sandton Convention Centre 25th -27th May 2018