Even though multi-faceted artist and noted costumier Martin Roberts started conceptualising the ideas for his latest exhibition Landscapes From The Anthropocene several years ago, you can see the influence last summers’ fires had on the finished works, which are set to be exhibited in the Blue Mountains during October this year.

Explaining the exhibition, Roberts said, “The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch during which human activity has become the dominant influence on the environment, ecosystems and the climate, to the extent that permanent changes will become visible in Earth’s geology for future generations to see.

“The pieces I’m doing for the exhibition 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 said climate change and the brutal summer of 2019/20 was a strong influence on the exhibition and you’re compelled to agree once you view the evocative pieces – the artworks are vibrant and visually arresting with the mixed media catching your eye with new details upon each viewing and evoke the chaos that was living in the Blue Mountains at that time, with blood red skies and choking smoky air every day for months.

 “This year, COVID has distracted us from the ongoing human degradation of the environment and the perils of climate change.

“I think it’s noteworthy that many of the visuals that influenced me when making the artworks – the red skies and smoke from our bushfires last summer – we are currently seeing again in the Western United States.

Roberts, who was born in Dublin and moved to Australia in 2002, has an impressive resume with a six year tenure as a costumier at Sydney Theatre Company and work on several theatre and film productions including Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme, the debut Australian production of Billy Elliot: The Musical and the fantasy film, Reign Of Fire.

He moved to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains in 2014 and completed a Masters of Art Therapy at Western Sydney University in 2017 and is now a full-time artist and arts therapist.

Because of Covid, there won’t be an official on-site opening, though the gallery will be open for the public to view the works in person from October 1-25 at Braemar House, Springwood.

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