Landscapes from the Anthropocene
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This summer's bushfires inspired these stark but ethereal artworks exploring our adverse impact on the planet
Dublin-born creative Martin Roberts has achieved a hell of a lot. He's done everything from crafting costumes for dragon hunters Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale in cult movie Reign of Fire to a six-year stint working in the wardrobe department of the Sydney Theatre Company. He both collaborated with Baz Luhrman on his Broadway take on La Boheme and helped launch the Australian debut of Billy Elliot: The Musical.
These days life moves at a slightly slower pace. Moving to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains in 2014, Roberts paints for a living as well as offering art therapy.
As we approach bushfire season with trepidation, his new exhibition Landscapes from the Anthropocene looks fascinating. Opening at Springwood’s Braemar Gallery on October 1 and running until the 25th, it explores our adverse impact on our natural habitats.
“The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch during which human activity has become the dominant influence on the environment, ecosystems and the climate,” Roberts explains. “The pieces are textile based, with layers of fabrics painted and stitched on, and with a variety of other mixed media. Found objects are added to create layers of images and textures, exploring how humans are impacting the climate and ecosystems.”
He’d been exploring the idea for some time, but the devastating summer that bridged the end of last year and the start of 2020 spurred him on. “The emerging realities of climate change have very much influenced the work,” he adds.
Instead of an official opening, Roberts has prepared a video welcome that will go live on his website on Saturday, October 3. He'll be joined by Barbara Lepani, coordinator of the Wild Mountains Collective. While the launch will be virtual, the gallery is still open to the public, so it’s well worth a weekend drive up to have a look.
Make it a day trip? Check out the best spas in the Blue Mountains.