2014-2019 Bird Projects
The birds are part of an ongoing diary of sorts. Abstract images of birds spotted primarily in Australia are squeezed or trapped into the rectilinear architecture of empty Tetra Paks. They speak to the relationship between abstraction and extraction, and how these words both imply a removal of sorts. Tetra Paks are associated with devastating extractive practices of living destructive to non-human forms of life. The birds form a pattern of objects to elicit speculation of reparative paths. The research explores how opposing modes of identity – birds/cartons, abstraction/extraction and art/consumer material – can be sustained in simultaneously in a single object. In each original series of painted sculptural works, I embody a more expansive view of the potential for painting, in the use of colour, sculptural form and encaustic wax mixed with pigments. The abstract planes of colour recall the work of colour field painter Ellsworth Kelly and were the first of an ongoing series of bird sculptures that explore the threats that are pushing bird species closer to extinction. MT Kelly (2015) Spectra of Birds, 2014–15 – artwork exhibited in GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Qld, curated by Peter McKay, 11 July – 11 October. Spectra of Birds (2014–15) was commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and exhibited in GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art, curated by Peter McKay. In 2015 the work was subsequently purchased for the Queensland Art Gallery with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation). QAGOMA is the leading institution for the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific. GOMA Q profiled the innovations and achievements of leading Queensland visual artists. Spectra of Birds (2014–15) featured in a print and digital resource package written explicitly for the new Visual Art syllabus by a highly experienced team of practising teachers and curriculum developers: Angela Brown, et al Creative Inquiry: Visual Art for Queensland Senior Secondary Students Cambridge University Press. Formats: Print, PDF, Interactive, Territory: Australia, New Zealand, Print run: Print 5900, PDF 5900, Interactive 5900, Pub. date: 31/10/2018, ISBN: 9781108461788 Spectra of Birds also featured in a QLD Dept of Education suite of art resources entitled ‘ Curriculum into the Classroom’ (or ‘C2C’ for short) distributed on platforms: OneSchool portal and Education Services Australia’s Scootle. Some materials were made available via USB/CD/DVD or print to students with special requirements or in locations with limited internet access. The success of Spectra of birds led to it being printed on the QAGOMA 2015 Christmas card, with a print run of 250 cards and an electronic version for email distribution. The gallery also included the work in their 2016 Members Calendar, an A4 size calendar with a print run of 7000-8000 copies distributed for free to gallery members (not for sale). The work led to a commission of another12 sculptures of birds, Barren Grounds (2016), for the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (permanent display. Leipzig Birds (2016) has been reshown over five times since its initial showing during the Spinnerei Gallery Tour in May 2016, with 8000 guests in attendance. Subsequent showings in Germany included Affects on Absorption, Spinnerei Autumn Gallery Tour, LIA Gallery (16–17 September 2017); Paradigma Blickwechsel – neue arbeitswelten (Paradigm Exchanging Glances – New Labor Worlds), Tapetenwerk Leipzig (13 October – 11 November 2017) alongside major international artists with an accompanying, substantial, full-colour catalogue; and Sedimente, Spinnerei Werkschau (Halle 12; 8–24 March 2018), during which an image of the work was reproduced in Tabea Burchgart, ‘Wer die Welt byerfahren will, hat sich ihr auszusetzen’ 08-03-2018, Leipziger Volkszeitung, a daily regional newspaper in Leipzig and western Saxony, Germany. An Australia Council Development Grant with a 17 per cent success rate was awarded for the residency during which the birds were made. Leipzig International Art (LIA) is a non-profit residency program that fosters artists internationally by providing them with spacious studios and cultural support. Birds of the D’Aguilar Range (2017) were shown in Contemporary Still Life, Casula Powerhouse (28 April – 2 July), curated by Toni Bailey and An Le and subsequently purchased by the University of QLD Art Museum. Pelagic Birds was reshown in Sea of Waste, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, Nowra (15 July – 2 September), curated by Fiona McFadyen, and was adapted as Pelagic and Shoreline Birds (2017) for purchase by the UOW art collection in 2017, where it remains on permanent display at the Liverpool Campus. Canberra Birds: Cute craft for the painting archive was adapted and re-shown in I Thought I Heard a Bird, Canberra Craft and Design Centre, ANU School of Art + Design, Canberra. The Canberra Times selected Canberra Birds: Cute craft for the painting archive as the only image to accompany Kerry-Anne Cousins’ review of two exhibitions entitled ‘I thought I heard a bird and Cupped Hands at Craft ACT’ https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6006220/two-exhibitions-that-provide-a-dialogue-between-us-and-our-environment/#slide=3 Birds seen in the Illawarra, NSW: Welcome swallow, Superb fairy-wren, Crimson rosella, Red-browed finch, Green catbird, Purple swamphen, Sooty oystercatcher, New Holland honeyeater, Great cormorant, Satin bowerbird, Eastern whipbird, Australian pelican, Laughing kookaburra, Rainbow lorikeet, Spotted pardalote, Magpie, Eastern yellow robin, Bassian thrush, Eastern rosella, Cattle egret, White-faced heron (Blue Crane), Crested tern, White-browed scrubwren, Variegated fairy-wren, Fan-tailed cuckoo, Lewin’s honeyeater, Golden whistler, White-headed pigeon, Brown cuckoo dove, Scarlet honeyeater, Eastern spinebill, Black-faced cuckoo-shrike, Red-whiskered bulbul, Pied cormorant, Noisy miner, Dollarbird, Galah, Scrub turkey, Masked lapwing (Plover), Tawny frogmouth. Eastern whipbird, Pilot bird, Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, Brown thornbill, Beautiful firetail, Lyrebird, Grey fantail, White-throated treecreeper, King parrot, Eastern bristlebird, Female bowerbird and Rufous whistler Woodcock, Spatz (Sparrow), Eisvogel (Kingfisher), Goldammer (Yellow hammer), Amsel, Elster (Magpie), Kleiber (Eurasian nuthatch), Krähe, Amsel (Black bird), Kuckuck (Cuckoo), Schwarzspecht (black woodpecker), Weißstorch (White stork), Seidenschwanz (Waxwing), Mandarinente (Mandarin duck), Kohlmeise (Great tit), Firecrest, Garden warbler, Schwan (Swan), Mauersegler (Swift), Blaumeise (Blue tit), Mittelspecht (Medium spotted woodpecker), Buntspecht (Great woodpecker), Kleinspecht (Lesser pied woodpecker), Grunspecht (Green woodpecker), Bush stone-curlew, Blue-faced honeyeater, Crested pigeon Sulphur-crested cockatoo, Eastern koel, Pheasant cuckoo, Pied butcherbird, Purple crowned pigeon, Sacred kingfisher, Forest kingfisher, Great egret, Australasian figbird, Wompoo fruit dove, Common starling. Southern giant-petrel, Northern giant-petrel, Cape petrel, Great-winged petrel, Fairy prion, Fluttering shearwater, Hutton’s shearwater, Wandering albatross, Gibson’s albatross, Black-browed albatross, White-capped albatross, Campbell albatross, Indian yellow-nosed albatross, White-faced storm-petrel (x2), Australasian gannet, Little pied cormorant, Pied cormorant, Little black cormorant, Australian pelican, Silver gull, Crested tern, White-fronted tern, Tern. wee bill, white browed scrubwren, european gold finch, house sparrows (male and female), willy wagtail, pee wee lark, latham’s snipe, buff-banded rail, baby crimson rosella, red wattle bird, pied currawong, little corella, grey teal, dusky moore hen, australasian coot, black shouldered kite, black swan, pacific black duck.
painting, artist, encaustic wax, encaustic painting, contemporary painting, Australian painting, Australian artist, expanded painting, australian birds, honeyeaters, brushes, Peruvian textile
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2014-2019 Bird Projects

Madeleine Kelly Spectra of birds 2014-15
 Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text 40 parts ranging from 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable Purchased 2015 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery. Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA
Spectra of birds 2014-15
 Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text 40 parts ranging from 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable Purchased 2015 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery. Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

This project is an ongoing diary of sorts. In these sculptures painted with encaustic wax, abstract images of birds primarily spotted in Australia are squeezed or trapped into the rectilinear architecture of empty Tetra Paks. The resulting expressionist distortions – angular in shape as determined by the cartons – are half bird and half cultural object, suggesting the continual commodification of nature, a world gradually destroying itself, and the transformation of rubbish. In capitulating to the cartons’ open spouts, the birds embody the phantasmatic property of everyday materials replete with associative meanings of myth and consumerism. Two modes of identity – birds/cartons and art / consumer material – are sustained simultaneously in a single object.

Madeleine Kelly Barren Grounds 2015 Encaustic on cardboard with paper 12 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 9 x 9cm x 23; installed dimensions variable
Barren Grounds 2015 Encaustic on cardboard with paper 12 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 9 x 9cm x 23; installed dimensions variable

From an art-historical perspective, the planes of colour recall the work of Color Field painter Ellsworth Kelly who attributes his minimal colour abstractions and the titles of his works to birdwatching as a young boy with his grandmother. Yet, in contrast to the restraint of formalist colour field painting, these birds might be said to return abstraction to its counterpart in nature, producing effects whereby the different permutations of colour and combinations of form embrace diversity, visual analogy and the aesthetic quality of these remarkable animals. The category depends on the intersection of birds that are seen and are therefore made, but their squashed states also suggest a crisis – those endangered, betrayed or disappeared.

Leipzig birds 2016-17 Encaustic  on cardboard with paper 23 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable
Birds of the D’Aguliar Range 2017 Encaustic  on cardboard with paper 14 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 30 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable. Collection, University of Queensland Art Gallery
Madeleine Kelly Pelagic Birds 2017
Pelagic birds 2017, Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text 23 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable Photograph Bernie Fischer.​​
Madeleine Kelly Canberra Birds: Cute craft for the archive of painting 2018-19 Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text. 17 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable
Canberra Birds: Cute craft for the archive of painting 2018-19 Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text. 17 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable
GOMA QLD publication.