Art and ceramics studio 

63 Wilkins Street, Mawson ACT

Media Release -  10 May 2005

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Surf, strong women & music keep summer alive at Mawson Gallery 

As the wintry cold looms, Mawson Gallery celebrates sun, surf, strong women and music in a rare event – a new show by Canberra artist Vivian Martin.

A kind of “Renaissance Man” of  the Canberra art scene, Martin is a sculptor, painter, designer, jewellery maker and installation artist who sees the artist’s subject as more important than the style or media used to express it.

Art Critic Sasha Grishin, in a review  entitled “Serious art with a subtle smirk” once described Martin as an artist who “takes art making so seriously he is prepared to laugh at himself.” 

Martin’s latest exhibition “Beaches, Bods and the Odd Muso” is a series of vivid canvases which Martin describes as “drawings in paint”.  They range across figurative, surreal and abstract treatment of subjects that have become his passions.

“My subjects are mostly human, mostly women and mostly at the beach,” he says. “I could hide this under some classical pretext but really, I just like to portray quirky and strong women because I love the idea of the ‘call of the siren’ as a metaphor of how our passions call to us irresistibly.”

The “odd muso” includes lively portraits of musicians who have inspired the artist over the years.

“These are my passions and I called the exhibition ‘Beaches, Bods and the Odd Muso’ to encapsulate those unfinished, unrequited or unavailable aspects of my life in Canberra. 

“Canberra is so far from the beach that to get through winter I “paint-draw” overly vivid memories of an earlier life at Bronte and Camp Cove.  And Canberra women are so modest that I have had to conjure up vivid images of them in other guises, usually Italian and usually at the beach. 

“The ultimate allusion of this exhibition for me then, is an Italian mermaid sitting on the rock at Guerilla Bay  playing the mandolin and singing to me. (And that odd musician is still trying to teach me mandolin).

The exhibition runs at MAWSON GALLERY, 63 Wilkins Street, Mawson from 18 May 12 June.  Opening hours are 10.30am – 5.30pm Wednesday to Sunday. Or by appointment anytime.  Phone 6161 2177,  mobile 0438 473 902.

High res photographs are available at

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