Open Cut – Black Hill, By Lily Mae Martin, 1380 x 760 cm, ink on cotton paper, 2019
Hello! My exhibition is all coming together – I worked on this all last year and it is really exciting to be able to share this information with you all now. I will write more over the coming weeks and months about the process. Here is a little more about it –
Eureka Centre Ballarat presents ‘Overburden’, an exhibition of recent drawings by Lily Mae Martin, from 3 February to 2 August 2020. An exhibition opening will be held on Thursday 13 February 2020 at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
‘Overburden’ addresses the legacy of Gold Rush mining and explore our relationship with, and perception of, the natural world. Through close observation of the landscape around Ballarat, Lily Mae has uncovered evidence of past catastrophic environmental exploitation and destruction caused by mining during the Victorian Gold Rush.
These recent drawings are the result of a year of focussed research and site visits throughout the Ballarat region. Through walking and drawing, Lily Mae began to understand how the landscape had become heavily impacted by mining and transformed by earthworks – abandoned mine shafts, mullock heaps, and the abundant evidence of sludge that once clogged water systems. She also discovered areas where mining had occurred that seemed almost entirely reclaimed by nature.
These drawings have their genesis in on-site sketches that were further developed in her studio resulting in exquisitely detailed pen and ink drawings. Her use of black and white brings to her drawing a strong metaphoric association with truth-telling. Through her close observation of nature and her dedicated act of drawing Lily Mae aims to strip away nature’s veneer of regeneration, bringing traces of environmental degradation to the fore and revealing the past trauma lurking under the surface of the land.
Lily Mae describes the inspiration and impetus for the project:
‘Overburden’ is a collection of work about how mining the earth for gold has permanently altered and reshaped the physical landscape. So much about history is about the human story – but we so rarely ask about the stories of the land. What about the environment in which we live; what do we value and what do we throw away? What do we put in museums and what is left on private farms, in state forests? Now more than ever, it seems all the more urgent to notice what we don’t notice.”
Lily Mae Martin is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries scottliveseygalleries
Eureka Centre Ballarat is a cultural facility of the City of Ballarat