One of the more powerfully enduring images of Mary Kathleen is the vast open cut, another form of mining in which the land is carved directly from the Earth’s surface down into its depths. Mulcahy’s interpretation of this scarred feature of the landscape is both powerful and beautiful, and redolent of the open cuts which are to be found on many mining sites throughout the country. The glazes used to achieve these strong colours are made of minerals, which if used incorrectly in their raw state may have physically damaging side effects, but have been rendered safe through the firing process. They have added to the colourful beauty of this work. When imagining what might have been the sounds of miners working in the open cut, and seeing it in its current state of disuse, one can hear the sounds of violent activity suddenly turning into the sounds of reverberating silence.
Extract from the Catalogue Essay by Gordon Foulds