Stealing joy

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Together with Martine Emdur we are aiming to raise $28,000 for breast cancer research. Therefore 30% of the proceeds from the sale of this print will go to Breast and Surgical Oncology (at the Poche Centre Sydney). The Poche Centre is at the forefront of research on breast cancer treatment and is doing remarkable work in this field. 

“This painting is of a gorgeous friend of mine who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Given that news she decided it was high time to shed her inhibitions, dive in nude and have a good giggle with one of her besties, who was completely unprepared to be thrown in the deep end, literally. The next day she was scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy. 

"For a very special moment there was loads of laughter, awkwardness and hilarity. And in that short time she was distracted from the slippery, emotional and painful path that lay ahead. I'm very happy and relieved to report that she is recovering well. Sadly this is not always the case. 

"This painting is titled 'stealing joy' partly because we stole a few moments of joy and on the flip side, cancer steals so much joy. But this image is about the joy.” – Martine Emdur.

 Martine Emdur is represented in Sydney by OLSEN (known previously as Olsen Irwin and Tim Olsen Gallery)

  • Limited edition of 60
  • Hand signed and produced under the watchful eye of the artist
  • Print size: 1033mm x 1118mm  
  • Image size: 815mm x 900mm
  • Produced using an inkjet process printing with 100% archival inks
  • Printed on 100% archival acid free cotton rag paper, 300gsm thickness
  • The fine art paper used has a distinct slight tooth texture to the surface, specifically selected for these prints
  • Delivery is within 20 working days (outside of holiday periods such as the summer break)


Just as clouds disintegrate and re-form, water is in a continual state of renewal and restless movement. Into this realm Martine Emdur plunges bodies and creates a subterranean theatre where silence replaces time and ambiguity is a constant.

Living by the sea, painting the sea and submerging her models into the skin of the water she has endless patience for the gradations and the shifting mutability of her element: “With each painting I notice another detail letting me understand and further capture the subtleties.”

Her work is not just (sea)scape. It is also portraiture, a highly original extension of the figurative into the abstract. The sea being the ultimate abstract field: a seamless realm of light and colour. It is also a treasury of metaphors and wishes. 

For this painter a body in water alone can signify “surrender, fluidity, calm” and the meeting of two bodies (which increasingly the new work explores). Anatomy in the picture conveys something more: union, erotic fantasy, tension.

This work is highly sense based. It can make you shiver or melt or feel a very human vulnerability in the face of shadows, depths and uncharted perimeters.

The sea embraces and engulfs and Emdur seeks to engage the eye in the same dynamic. She works in light and shadow but the physical reality of the ocean is always in the foreground. Step into the image and you are immediately in over your head, suspended, weightless, sometimes spellbound. 

"The scale is key, I want people to stand in front of my paintings and get the feeling of being immersed. And I think about the temperature of the water even more than the light. The temperature is everything in my paintings. I love a warm-blooded body in a cool body of water. I love the light and warmth from the sun streaming through the top of the picture where the body has pierced the surface and then all the shadows give the sensation of the cold, more mysterious water below."

Unlike David Hockney’s static tiled swimming pools, broken by bodies and glittering in the sun. Or unlike Claude Monet’s scumbled melting water lily ponds, the water in a Martine Emdur painting is not just a formal convention for exploring space in a painting or a palette of cool colours. It is, quite simply, a place that you can feel. And the range of sensations shifts from figure to figure, molten sunbeam to icy undercurrent.

In the new works there is a tension between freedom and fear “between the joy of floating and the darkness and mystery of the water” but there is also a universal beauty: calming, ancient, returning in on itself in the endless tug of the tide.

    Expected delivery within 20 business days.
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