Originally from Tasmania, by way of Canberra, Madeline has lived and worked in Melbourne since 2002. Recognised for her paintings of graphic fantasy, luxury and status, she explores the authenticity of value through what is owned and what is perceived. Her background in art direction and skills in technical drawing lend her the ability to 'design' scenes of idle seduction, from a position "perhaps a touch ironic - designing a life that isn't anything like mine!"
I guess I have always thought of my painting as something that I design. I think about what would be the 'ideal' painting, what I myself would want to hang in a house - how I could design that and put those elements together. There is also an interest in the dramatic potential or associated status of an artwork. On one level these paintings look like they belong to someone who is wealthy, though of course in reality they probably don't, they are the artifice of status. It's perhaps a touch ironic, designing a lifestyle that isn't anything like mine!
I guess they are a bit 80s! Those pieces in The Narrows shows were all based on photographs - I buy props and set up shoots, which comes from my art direction background I suppose, I pop dye in cocktail glasses and scatter confetti - things like that - but people tend to miss that whole part of the process, I think a lot of people think they are found images, or from greeting cards!
I do a lot of gridding, I don't project-
No, I just use grids. I get used to a particular way of drawing and don't want to budge! It's a great technique, and I teach it to my students - I teach drawing to graphic designers. I find it's better than tracing, which is too perfect - it still has a hand-drawn quality.
No, it's all hand painted, it's very time consuming!
They were made of things I have found and bought and sawn and glued together, painted...
No, they are all wood, wooden fruit or children's blocks-
Kind of at the same time - I did the props, and did the paintings, and did the sculptures-
Yes, the paintings offer another chance to redesign and recompose from the photos.
It just developed over time... when I graduated from art school, I was doing very soft-focus paintings, it was really one of the trends that went through the art school-
Yes - and then it became more and more crisp, naturally I just wanted to simplify them, make them bolder.
I have been working on that one today. And no, it's composed from a collection of images - the backdrop is from a photo I took when I was in Hobart last, which has changed quite a lot, the foreground flowers were from a photo I took also, that particular window frame I saw in a film. It's still an act of art direction, of joining different elements together. I do think of them often as set paintings, I grew up with a lot of 1940s and 50s American cinema with their painted backgrounds of Monte Carlo and Rio... I guess that's the role art direction plays - it means there's a consideration of narrative, who owns these things, and what things tell the story, like props in a film...
I'll often watch films that may turn out to be quite boring and I will try and amuse myself by looking at the set dressing, the props, how they fill spaces with things. I did some work for Next Wave at the MCG that was like set dressing, we were commissioned to do work in the changing rooms. I gravitated towards the bathroom, probably by looking at images like Dominique Auguste Ingres' paintings of women in bathhouses. I dressed it like a set, but with some realism.
But I do love his work! And Alex Katz. And Wayne Thiebaud. When I went to the Louvre for the first time, I looked at the Chardin still life paintings for a long time, they're really simple but contemporary compositions... I am also fairly obsessed with interior design. I was just given a book of 70s Italian interiors photographed by Carla De Benedetti - they are pretty amazing.
It's a house in Tasmania that my grandfather designed, it's now my mother's house. I managed to convince her to let me rearrange her furniture. I guess it's an interest in the imaginary art collector, artwork, when you make it, your image is for somebody, to be collected or hung - but sometimes you don't sell any. That project is a way to show work in a place where I had imagined them to belong.
No, they are a group of artists that I asked to borrow images of their work. Again, it's art direction and interior design, designing with artworks. The last film I worked on - was a gothic horror set in an art school group house, and we had to source artworks to hang on the walls, the Un Magazine project was a natural progression from that...
I will just be doing more making, and then when I run out of room I will have to organise a show. The studio is already getting a bit full so maybe it will have to be soon!
Photography property of Madeline Kidd, The Narrows and Double Days.
The referrals began with Leah Jackson who referred Stephanie Downey who referred Chris Hill who referred Jonathan Wallace who referred Dominic Hofstede, who referred Paul Fuog, who referred Ben Edwards and Juliet Moore, who referred Ryan Russel and Byron George, who referred Dianna Snape, who finished the stream with Jessica Brent. We also introduced Matt Hinkley who referred Warren Taylor who referred Yanni Florence, who referred Liv Barrett, who referred Fayen d'Evie, who referred Masato Takasaka, who referred Madeline Kidd, who referred Meredith Turnbull, who referred Nella Themelios.
In May 2012, we began a new Melbourne stream with Oslo Davis. He then referred Alexander Stitt, who referred Mimmo Cozzolino, who referred Fysh Rutherford, who referred Simon and Jenna Hipgrave.
In March 2012, we went to Austin for SXSW, where the daily referrals began with Sonnenzimmer who referred Landland and Hometapes who referred Zorch, who referred Brian Maclaskey, who referred Bobby Dixon, who referred Brian Phillips, who, through some auspicious coincidence, turned the SXSW referral interview project into a perfect circle, by referring us back to Sonnenzimmer. Then there was a giveaway to celebrate.