Art ‘for the fun of it’

Martin Heatherich with his painting of a corona in outer-space. 204196_02 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Enter the endlessly inventive world of Noble Park painter and sculptor Martin Heatherich.

It’s hard to believe the diverse array of found-object sculptures, giant cosmos paintings and local landscapes are the product of one mind.

But there it all is – in a whimsical and wondrous exhibition ’65 years of making art’ at Walker Street Gallery.

On display are a bright aeroplane with jar lid wheels, a ‘Frankenstein’ GM-chook, a giant moth as well as Nature scenes carved from polystyrene packaging.

There’s a striking representation of big-bank greed. A multi-headed crocodile – carved from cork – chewing on a human leg.

The victim represents the “99 per cent of us being eaten by the 1 per cent”.

A former auto-parts sorter, Heatherich says he has no formal art training, and little pre-planning.

He just makes use of objects that are easy to cut and put together – and then “something comes out of it by chance”.

“I just like to do it,” he says.

“There is a lot of mystery about the whole idea of creativity – where does it come from, how does it develop? I don’t know.

“Some of these ideas just pop up in your mind and the result is a painting.”

This collection starts just before he migrated from Holland as a 21-year-old, along with his parents, in 1955.

His early works are landscapes in homage to Vincent van Gogh, progressing to the stunning explosions of colour captured by the Hubble telescope.

“The Hubble made it possible to look past the little we knew of the Milky Way,” he marvels.

He’s influenced by Vincent van Gogh, M C Escher, surrealists and German expressionists, but unlike them he didn’t settle into one style.

“If we look at the artists that are world-famous, we can always recognise their work. It’s either all they can do or all they want to do.

“I do art for the fun of it. I can’t be anything other than what I am.”

Martin Heatherich: 65 years of making art is at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, cnr Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong until 22 February.


Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.