Artist Biography

Mandy Coppes-Martin is a visual artist, working primarily with paper and pulp using fibres such as hemp, sisal, cotton rag and silk. Mandy completed her Masters Degree in Fine Art (cum laude) in 2004 where she concentrated on the development of local and invasive plant fibres for the production of specialist papers.

In Holland, Germany and Belgium, Mandy worked with various paper experts in three-dimensional paper-casting techniques and sheet production. She has been involved in various outreach initiatives in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Germany and Belgium.

In 2012 Mandy became a full time artist producing work in paper and silk. Her works “Trembling Giant” and “Virgin Pulp” were awarded the runner-up prize in the Sasol New Signatures 2012 Art Awards. Mandy had her second Solo exhibition titled “Latent” at Lizamore and Associates in October 2015 and has exhibited in numerous group shows in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, as well as in Belgium and the Philippines.

Mandy Coppes–Martin lives in Johannesburg with her husband and 2 daughters and currently works from the Newtown Artist-Run Centre at Assemblage in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Artist Statement

Our lives are not separate from nature but rather intertwined in a tenuous relationship that reciprocally imprints on the fate of each other. The histories and the futures of both are wrapped in a causal nexus that we habitually discount. We are yet to assimilate this relationship into our understanding of who we are and where we are going. Mandy Coppes-Martin explores the intersections, paradoxes and fragility of what we are in relation to the surrounding natural world.

Our understanding about our relationship with nature is built-up by folklore and personalised stories that we knot together. Yet a poetic incompleteness runs through what we think we know. Coppes-Martin lirically employs negative space to contemplate the mysterious latent potential around our habitual ideas.  These stories appear to be tied and fixed, but with these works you are reminded that our existence is not finite.

Coppes-Martin uses plant fibres, threads and silks that weave through her drawings and sculptures. This body of work makes apparent how memory imposes it’s narratives upon the external world – ultimately shaping it and often understating the crucially intertwined fates of man and nature.  In a similar way, she utilises traditional practices such as crochet and weaving to trace what is known and to give form to her sculptural pieces. In doing so, she defines the edges of what lies beyond our memory and knowledge. She moves into the obscure territory of what once existed and uses this to define what would one day be our shared destinies.