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Madeleine Kelly Artist

All Images © Madeleine Kelly 2018.

Madeleine Kelly Biography


German-born Madeleine Kelly, who arrived in Australia in 1980, is a visual artist who primarily works in painting. She majored in Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, in 1999, and her practice-led PhD was conferred by the same institution in 2013. Her dissertation, entitled ‘Picturing Archaeologies: The Meta-archaic aesthetic’, examines the archaeological metaphor as an image-laden and mutable terrain. In particular, she engages – not without irony – with the descriptive capacity of philosopher Michel Foucault’s archaeology of knowledge. Her use of the archaeological metaphor focuses on the field of painting as composed of networks of aesthetic, topographic or historical positions.

Kelly has been invited to exhibit in both public and private spaces, nationally and internationally, including GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art (2015) at the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane; Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection (2011) at QAGOMA; and Primavera 2005: Young Australian Artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney. Recent international exhibition venues include Spinnerei Werkschau, Leipzig, Germany (2018), Tapetenwerk Leipzig (2017) and Crane Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia, USA (2011). She has attended residencies in Kongju, Korea; Paris, France; and Leipzig and has received support from the Australia Council for a number of projects. Kelly is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.



Kelly’s practice-led research primarily takes form as paintings. Their content is often poetic, metaphysical and oblique, despite the politics underpinning them. Within the field of painting, she is deeply interested in iconography, figuration, the pictorial and the materiality of painting both as an object and philosophical visual language. In this, she also focuses on the institutions that circulate it, such as aesthetics and art history. Her international research has focused on French Symbolist painting and entropy, The New Leipzig School’s fusions of abstraction and figuration, and political walls and borders implied in Mexican Muralism.

While painting remains core to her practice, it often acquires its significance in its interrelationship with other mediums such as light, sculpture and, most recently, the symbolic elements and motifs that encode Peruvian textile imagery with meaning and compositional logic. In these recent works, the resulting pictorial effect is one where archetypal, mythological figures appear to embody the modernist languages of cubism and futurism. Here motifs connect the labour of the body to crystalline grounds that suggest non-human geological and mineral worlds.

In other works, such as her encaustic wax painted bird sculptures squashed from Tetra Paks, Kelly embodies a more expansive view of the potential for painting. Abstract planes of colour correspond to the unique colours found on birds and, connoting the work of Color Field painter Ellsworth Kelly, demonstrate how painting is manifested through fusions of the everyday and art history.

Kelly’s broader research is interdisciplinary and collaborative. By weaving art and science, she generates creative research and writing that intertwines multiple references to energy (fossil fuels, visible light, terahertz spectroscopy), plant pigments, animal mythology, archaeology, ethics, perception and creativity.



Madeleine Kelly Resume.


Tertiary Education:

2013 PhD, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University

2001 Bachelor of Secondary Education, Griffith University

1999 Bachelor of Visual Arts with First Class Honours in Fine Art, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University



2018 – Present Lecturer in Visual Arts (painting), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney.

2013 – 2017 Lecturer in Painting (convener), Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong.

2004 – 2012 Part time lecturer, Painting Department, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

2002 – 2004 Art teacher, Bracken Ridge State High School, QLD.

2000 – 2001 Tutor for ATAS (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tutorial Assistance Scheme), Griffith University.


Awards, prizes and grants:

2017 UOW Conference Exhibition and Performance Funding (CEPS) ($3000) to attend the conference Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World, June 20 – 23, 2017, Mexico City. Lead tour regarding Santiago Carbonell’s murals in the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice.

2016 UOW-ANSTO Joint seed funding scheme, ‘Characterising, Analysing and Understanding Artists’ Materials Using Terahertz-Frequency Photons’ ($21 000) Roger Lewis, Madeleine Kelly (Chief Investigators)

2015 Australia Council Development Grant for Leipzig International Art Programme Residency, Germany (February – June 2016) ($20 000)

2014 Global Challenges Seed Funding Grant Paint Analysis Using Terahertz Spectroscopy (PAUTS) Roger Lewis (Chief Investigator), Madeleine Kelly, Stephen van Duin, Adam Trevitt ($14 398)

2011 Australia Council New Work Established Grant ($20 000)

2009 Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship

2007 Artist in residence, Gadens Lawyers, Brisbane ($9000)

2007 Arts Queensland Project Grant ($3500)

2006 Metro Arts Artist in Residence (March – October 2006)

2004 Australia Council Arts and Crafts Paris Studio Residency Grant ($10 000)

2004 Winner, Churchie Exhibition of Emerging Art ($5000) Judge: Dr Rex Butler

2003 Arts Queensland Project Grant ($5000)

2001 Arts Queensland Project Grant ($2700)

1998 Melville Haysom Memorial Art Scholarship, Queensland Art Gallery (Studio Residency from 20 August – 20 December 1999)


Upcoming Solo and Group Exhibitions/Publications:

2019 Solo exhibition Ipswich Regional Gallery

2018 New acquisitions, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD Solo exhibition, Milani Gallery, QLD.


Solo Exhibitions:

2018 Forms of Agency c3 Contemporary Art Space (31 January – 25 February) Abbotsford, Melbourne VIC. C3 Contemporary Art Space Website

2017 Diversity and Demise: Encounters with pelagic birds and sub-linguistic form, Wollongong City Gallery (11 February – 14 May), Wollongong NSW.

2016 Cooking Culture, Leipzig International Art Program, Leipzig, Germany.

2013 The Surface of Language, Griffith University Webb Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.

Picturing Archaeologies, Griffith University White Box Gallery, Brisbane, QLD.

2011 Hollow Mark, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Simon Wright, essay by Abigail Fitzgibbons.

2010 The Crevice, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2008 Heavy Heavenly Bodies, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2007 Dreams of Utopia, Gadens Lawyers, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2006 The Elephants’ Shelter, May, Bellas Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2005 Between expansion and collapse, April, Bellas Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2003 Pursuit of the Prizefighter, September, Soapbox Gallery, QLD, Australia.

Grounds for Entropy, August, Redlands Art Gallery, Redland Shire, QLD.

Fossilphilia, March, Metro Arts, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2002 Mnemonics, Queensland Performing Arts Complex, QLD, Australia

2001 Anatomy of a Metaphor, Modus Studios, Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia.

1999 Eclipse, Development Space, Metro Arts, QLD, Australia


Group exhibitions:


Sedimente, Spinnerei Werkschau (Halle 12), Leipzig, Germany, curated by Anna-

Louise Roland (March 8 – 24);

Chromophilia, Wollongong City Gallery, NSW, curated by Louise Brand, (10 February – 29 July


Paradigma Blickwechsel (Paradigm Exchanging Glances) Tapetenwerk 13 October – 3 November Leipzig, Germany, curated by Anna-Louise Roland;

Sea of Waste, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, Nowra (15 July – 2 September), curated by Fiona McFadyen;

Scenes of our City, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane (3 March – 16 July);

Contemporary Still Life, Casula Powerhouse (28 April – 2 July), curated by Toni Bailey and An Le;

Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award 2017 (20 May- 16 July);

Works from the Collection, Ipswich Gallery, (17 July – 24 September).



Fisher’s Ghost Art Award Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown NSW (4th November – 15 December);

The Waiting Room, Artbank, Sydney, NSW, Australia curated by Daniel Muddie Cunningham.

Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital commission Barren Grounds 2016 (permanent display).

Patterns Beyond the Obvious, LIA Gallery, Leipzig, Germany, curated by Laura Bierau (March).

64th Blake Prize Exhibition, Casula Powerhouse, Casula, Sydney, NSW, (13 February to 21 April).

Barren Grounds, new work Commissioned by the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD (permanent display).



GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Peter McKay (11 July – 11 October).

Contemporary works from the Collection, Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich, QLD, curated by Michael Beckmann (29 May to 27 November).

Gold Coast City Art Prize, Gold Coast City Gallery, QLD, selected by Nick Mitzevich (5 December – 31 January).



Conquest of Space, UNSW Galleries, COFA, Sydney, NSW, curated by Andrew Frost;

Processing, Alaska Projects, curated by Teo Treloar;

Fractured Beauty, Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, NSW, curated by Louise Brand;

15 Artists, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Redcliffe, QLD, judged by Timothy Morrell;

Tools of the Trade, Juggler’s Artspace, Brisbane , QLD, curated by Justin Jade Morgan and The Wandering Room;

63rd Blake Prize Exhibition, UNSW Galleries, COFA, Sydney, NSW, judged by Director of Artspace, Alexie Glass-Kantor, noted artist, Anne Ferran, and University of Sydney theologian, Dr Alex Norman.



Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris Collection, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD, curatorial manager Julie Ewington.

New Psychedelia, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Sebastian Moody.

Australia Felix, Crane Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia, USA, curated by Ross Woodrow.



The Ipswich House: Heritage house portraits by contemporary Queensland Artists, Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich, QLD, curated by Michael Beckmann;

Tiny Little Wonderful Worlds, Southbank Parklands, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Pat Hoffie;

BABELProjekt, Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD,curated by Pat Hoffie.

Other Misconceptions, Level Artspace, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Jo Di Ball; To Freeze, To Prick, To Cook, the Wandering Room at Melbourne Street, Brisbane, QLD, curated by the Wandering Room.



Temperature 2, Museum of Brisbane, curated by Frank Mc Bride, Brisbane, QLD.

The Brisbane Line, The Narrows, Melbourne, VIC, curated by Ross Woodrow.



Carnivale Illuminata, Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD, curated by Pat Hoffie.

Stan and Maureen Duke Art Prize, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Gold Coast Arts Centre, QLD.



Twenty Twenty, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Frank Mc Bride;

Voiceless: I feel therefore I am, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, NSW, curated by Charles Green.



ABN Amro Emerging Art Award, Finalists Exhibition, Sydney NSW.

Colonial to Contemporary: Queensland College of Art 125 Years. A Contemporary Overview, Dell Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Timothy Morrell.

Primavera, Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Muswellbrook, NSW, curated by Felicity Fenner.

Animals and Allegory, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD, curated by Simone Jones.



Primavera 2005: Exhibition by Young Australian Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW, curated by Felicity Fenner.


Authored Publications:

2016 Kelly, Madeleine, Mimicry and Mimesis: Matrix Insect, Animal Studies Journal, 5(1), 2016, 48-64.

Mimicry and Mimesis: Matrix Insect Publication


2015 Kelly, M. T. “Creation and preservation: teaching colour theory.” ACUADS Conference 2015: Art and Design Education in the global 24/7. Australia: Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools, 2015. 1-13.


Professional activities:


Kelly, Madeleine ‘Forms of Agency’ artist’s book produced as part of BOOK MACHINE (Sydney) II, powered by Artspace at VOLUME 2017, Another Art Book Fair.



Served as an Australia Council Peer Assessor for the International Residency Assessment Panel 2016



‘Creation and preservation: Teaching colour in the transforming visual arts world’, conference presentation, The Australian College of University Art and Design Schools, University of South Australia, School of Art, Architecture and Design, Adelaide, delivered 24 September.

Artist Talk, ‘In-conversation with Peter McKay’ for GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art, QAGOMA, delivered Saturday 11th July.

Artist Talk, ‘Future Collective Artist In-conversation with Peter McKay’ for GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art, QAGOMA, delivered Wednesday 15th July.

Commission to produce another series of birds, Barren Grounds 2015, for Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.



‘Splitting Primordial Identity and Dissembling Images’, conference presentation, Conquest of Space Symposium, UNSW Galleries, COFA, Sydney NSW, delivered 14 June.

Artist talk, UNSW Galleries, COFA, Sydney NSW, delivered 4 June.



Panelist for ‘Documenta 13 – a critical panel discussion’, The Glasshouse, Creative Industries Prescient, Queensland University of Technology, delivered



Artist talk, Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane, QLD, delivered 4 December.

‘Early Years and primary: Imagination and Pretend worlds’, lecture, Cinema B Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane, QLD, delivered 30 July.

Artist in resident, Brisbane State High School.

Artist talk Brisbane Boy’s Grammar school.

Assistant Program Officer, Education & Curriculum Program coordinator for ‘Art for our school’ program coinciding with ‘Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams’, workshop component Beenleigh State School;

Judge, Bellas Bursary, Brisbane State High School;

Judge, Creativo Arts Gala Martin Galleries



Visiting Artist for The Mekong River Project Children’s Workshop, Kids APT Festival Queensland Art Gallery.

Selection committee for finalists for the Churchie Exhibition of Emerging Art;

Judge, junior category, Queensland Youth Art Awards, Brisbane Boy’s Grammar School.

Artist in resident, Brisbane State High School.



Artist talk, ‘I Love Art History’ Lecture series, Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane, QLD, delivered 4 December.

Steering Committee and Panel Member, Metro Arts, Brisbane, QLD,

Creative Short Watercolour Course, Aug-Nov, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University; Curator: Undercurrent, QCA, GU open day exhibition.



Artist talk, lecture series, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum and Queensland College of Art, Dell Gallery

Workshop Artist, Box City Installation, Queensland Art Gallery.

Artist talk, Brisbane Boys Grammar School.



Artist talk, ‘Coolbytes Lecture Series’, Queensland College of Art, Southbank and Gold Coast City Art Gallery.



Event Coordinator for ‘The Minister’s Awards For Excellence in Art’ for Education Queensland.




Smith, J Diversity and Demise: Encounters with pelagic birds and sub-linguistic form, exhibition catalogue, Wollongong City Gallery (11 February – 14 May), Wollongong NSW.



Treatment for Hysteria II 2008 Cover image, Letter to Pessoa 2016, Michelle Cahill, Giramondo.



Gathering as Usual 2010 Cover image, Mascara Literary Journal Issue 17 April 2015

Oct 07 – QAGOMA Official Page of the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

QAGOMA Blog GOMAQ: Madeleine Kelly.

Martin-Chew, L 2015, ‘Preview GOMA Q’, in Art Guide Australia.

Failey, G 2015, ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’.

Hassall C 2015, ‘Contemporary Queensland’, in West End Magazine, Spring, pp78 – 81.



Brand, L 2014, Fractured Beauty, exhibition catalogue, 13 September – 26 October, Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, NSW.

Frost, A 2014, ‘The Engine of Experience: Contemporary Art and SF’, in Conquest of Space, exhibition catalogue, 22 May – 5 July, UNSW Galleries, COFA, Sydney, NSW, pp.5-7.



MacLeod, B 2013, ‘Profile: Madeleine Kelly’, in Artist Profile, no.25, pp.52-55.

McFarlane, H 2013, ‘Brisbane Gallery Hop’, Artlink, vol.33, no.4, p.95.

Butler, R 2013, ‘The QCA School’, Art Monthly Australia, no.257, pp.40-43.



Morrell, T 2012, ‘The James C. Sourris A.M. collection’, in Artlink, vol.32, no.1, p.95.

Kirker, A 2012, ‘The Woman Question, Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 11 June – 2 October 2011’, in Eyeline, no.76, online review.



Richards, B 2011, ‘Emerging artists the Current Crop’, in Ewington, J. & Queensland Art Gallery 2011, Ten years of contemporary art: the James C Sourris AM collection, Queensland Art Gallery, 12 November – 19 February, South Brisbane, QLD, pp.97-117.

Fitzgibbons, A 2011, ‘An Alchemy of Reflection’, in Hollow Mark, exhibition catalogue, 7 October – 13 November, pp.4-7.

Kelly, M 2011, ‘Dream Weapon’, reproduction of painting, Oculus: Postgraduate Journal for Visual Arts Research, no.3, pp.52–3.



Fitzgibbons, A 2010, ‘Madeleine Kelly, The Crevice’, Artlink, vol.30, no.4, p.85.

Stewart, K 2010, ‘Fairy Knoll: Madeleine Kelly’, in The Ipswich House: Heritage house portraits by contemporary Queensland artists, exhibition catalogue, 11 September – 14 November, Ipswich Art Gallery, QLD, pp.26-30.

Kelly, M 2010, ‘Gathering as Usual’, reproduction back cover image, RED Magazine, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, no.5.



Morrell, T 2009, ‘Queensland: The Unreal Australia’, Exhibition catalogue Temperature Two, p.15.



Morrell, T 2008, ‘The error of our ways: Madeleine Kelly’, Artlink, vol. 28 no. 1 March 2008, pp.60-65.



Fenner, F 2007, ‘The Nature of Art’, Art and Australia, Vol 44, No.3, Autumn.

Flynn, B 2007, ‘Madeleine Kelly, Emerge and Review: A Look into the UBS Australian Art Collection’, pp.54-55.



Morrell, T. & Cooke, G. 2006, Colonial to Contemporary: Queensland College of Art 125 Years, p.26.

Frost, A 2006, ‘Madeleine Kelly, 50 of Australia’s most collectable artists’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 35, January-March p.105



Butler, R 2005, Art in Australia, Art Review, vol.43, no.2, Summer, p.277.

Smee, S 2005, ‘Spring Loaded’, The Weekend Australia, pp.17-18 September.

Clement, T 2005, ‘Cleanse the Palette’, The Sydney Morning Herald Metro: Exhibitions, p.26.

McDonald, J 2005, ‘Isn’t it Ironic?’ The Sydney Morning Herald – Spectrum, Visual Art, 15-16 October pp.28 – 29.

Art Matters (MCA’s Members’ Newsletter), Cover Image, Spring.

Fenner, F 2005, Primavera: Exhibition by Young Australian Artists, exhibition catalogue.



Brand, S 2004, ‘Painting Modern Life’, exhibition catalogue, Blur, December, pp.6-16.

Sorensen, R 2004, ‘Top painting a confronting image of Iraq’, The Courier Mail, Saturday May 15, p.3.



McLean, S 2003, ‘Art from the Ashes’, The Courier Mail, Saturday September 6, BAM p.4.

Butler, R 2003, ‘Spooky work by fresh new talent’, The Courier Mail, Saturday August 23, BAM p.4.

Machan, K 2003, Art Monthly Australia, Artnotes QLD, March no 157 p. 157.

Milani, J 2003, ‘On the transformation of oil’ in Fossilphilia, exhibition catalogue.

Brooks, H 2003, ‘Oil Painting’, The Courier Mail, March 11 2003, p.17.



Hoffie, P 2001, ‘Review: Anatomy of a Metaphor’, in Artlink, vol.21, no.2, pp.86-87.



Government Galleries:

– Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art

– Ipswich Regional Gallery, QLD

– Wollongong City Gallery



– University of Queensland Art Museum

– Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane



– Artbank, Sydney

– Gadens Lawyers, Brisbane

– UBS Art Collection, Sydney

– KPMG Corporate Collection Sydney


Private collections in Australia:

– The Paul Eliadis Collection of Contemporary Art

– TEWRR Collection, Brisbane/UK