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"Latent" - Not Yet Real
Lizamore and Associates Gallery  2015 
Johannesburg - South Africa 


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. In  Latent –‘Not Yet Real,’ Mandy Coppes-Martin explores the intersections, paradoxes and fragility of what we are in relation to the surrounding natural world. 


Prompted by tree rings, these delicate artworks trace our collective pasts, hidden from the exterior.  For Coppes-Martin, the tree ring holds a unique significance, as it signifies both the object and a progressive timeline of how it came into being. However, this data is stored at its core as a latent record, out of sight and often overlooked; reminding us that our comprehension of the world is not fixed or complete. Layers of unstated meaning lie hidden under the surface. 


Our understanding of 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 lyrically 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.  Similarly, 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. 




In Latent, Coppes-Martin delineates assumptions about herself and her environment based on fragments of life that exist beyond our singularly human stories. She uncovers hidden aspects of the past that she incorporates into our awareness, to construct updated legacies about our unsteady relationship with our environment. These artworks question the boundaries and classifications of our narratives about nature and make way for a different lived experience of ourselves. In doing so, she discovers paradoxes and connections about who we are that are uncanny and at times uncomfortable. 

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