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Five minutes with artist Madeline Young

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Orange-based artist Madeline Young’s works combine striking natural scenes with a palette that wouldn’t be out of place in a sweet shop.

Painted in bold strokes that perfectly capture the organic lean of Australia’s gum forests, familiar scenes are wrought in brilliant pinks and greens, lending a fresh perspective to these hyper-Australian landscapes.

Now Madeline is coming to Canberra’s Gallery of Small Things (GOST) for a special exhibition of new works.

After meeting Madeline at her Corner Store Gallery in Orange, NSW, earlier this year, we caught up with her to discuss creating art in COVID, how the bush inspires her work and what art lovers can expect when her works land at GOST.

How exciting is it for you as an artist to be able to have a COVID-safe exhibition in these uncertain times?

It’s pretty exciting to exhibit at any time, to be honest! I’m been completely FLAT OUT this year, the art world seems to be booming!

People are much more open to buying art online, which is great for 2020. Exhibiting in the ACT is always great and especially now because you guys don’t have any COVID cases (fingers crossed).

Tell us about your work and how the themes of the Australian bush shine through?

I spend a lot of time in the bush around Orange—my father in law owns a property where I walk my dogs regularly. It’s my escape and my quiet time, I especially love the moments when there are no man-made sounds, just the birds, crickets and wind in the trees.

Trees are so important to me, it’s such a cliche but they literally give us life. I’ve been very concerned lately with the huge loss of habitat during the bushfires and the drought.

Last summer I noticed huge areas of gum trees just dying because they’ve been without water for so long. I was really distressed by it. Luckily, we’ve had rain this winter and they all seem to be on the mend.

Artwork by Madeline Young.

Has COVID affected your current/recent works in any way?

I think the thing that affects my work the most id the seasons and the weather. Most of the work I created over Winter has turned out really dark and there are lots of blues, which is not normally my colour.

The work I’ve made for GOST is more reflective of my spring mood, still using cool tones but certainly more cheerful.

Madeline Young.

How did you and GOST’s Anne meet?

My very good family friend lives just around the corner from Anne’s gallery and I was grabbing a coffee at The Knox \ in Watson last year and saw her flyer. I decided to look her up and I think we just started following each other on Instagram.

One day I visited her gallery and introduced myself and we became fast friends. We have so many similarities, we are both practising artists who have our studios attached to our small art galleries which are also attached to our homes.

We’ve collaborated on workshops together and even did a gallery swap group exhibition earlier in the year.

Artwork by Madeline Young.

Tell us about the works you’ve created especially for GOST?

These works are some of the smallest I’ve ever made—GOST has a size limit on artworks because it’s a VERY small space. They are all square, on deep edge canvas.

I stretch the canvas myself and use clear gesso, this gives the surface a really rough, chalky texture which makes the oil paint dry with a matt finish. There are a lot of soft blues and always, always pink—it’s physically impossible for me to make anything without pink!

They’re all based loosely on the landscape around Mount Canobolas just outside of Orange. I hope the colours evoke the mood of the seasons.

THE ESSENTIALS 

What: Madeline Youngat Gallery of Small Things
When: From 7 October
Where: 27 Wade Street, Watson
Find out more about Madeline’s art at madelineyoung.net and The Corner Store Gallery at cornerstoregallery.com and Gallery of Small Things at galleryofsmallthings.com

 

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