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Madeleine Gross: Paradise

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Wednesday, 5 June 2024 to Saturday, 6 July 2024

American artist, Madeleine Gross, makes her singular and distinctive pictures by painting onto her own original photographs. Idyllic images of sunset Ontario lakes and gleaming Miami beaches are overlaid with expressively painted naked figures and gestural brush marks. The aesthetic contrast between the smooth, machine-made surface of the photographic background and the smears, clots and streaks of freely applied paint is immediately arresting. The artist’s dramatic interventions prompt an inquiry into the personal significance of these pieces.

One of Gross’s recurrent and signature motifs is that of a nude couple embracing. They are placed against different versions of a picturesque sunset in a composition that pays more than a passing nod to cinematic melodrama. The artist, however, subverts the cliché by the vigour and rawness of the painterly application, bringing emotional heft and friction to the scenario. These are, after all, her chosen landscapes – places of significance and attachment, which she seeks to imbue with an intensity of feeling. This is enabled by the addition of the screeds of visceral and richly textured paint, whose urgency and directness claim ownership of the situation.

The artist makes frequent reference to an idealised world of romance, sun-worship and playful recreation. Her pictures, nevertheless, forcefully suggest an intense subtext, a running thread of powerful, abstracted emotion which ties everything together. Tension is implied in the aesthetic contrast between the media. Her additions – the intuitive strokes and marks of rich colour - are a kind of gloss or commentary and additional layer of emotional association.

In this body of work two worlds coexist: one of cooly-observed critical distance and the other of heartfelt, wilful engagement. The second of these, a female principle, untrammelled and passionate, a vital connection, which binds together these disparate images of temporal paradise and human affection.

Telephone: 
+44 20 7730  8777
Venue ( Address ): 

74 Newman Street

London

W1T 3DB

Pontone Gallery , London

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