SPIN OUT, SPUN IN Milani Gallery 2019
This new field of investigation conjoins painting, sculpture and the expanded field of painting with that of kinesis, highlighting the synergies between these multiple forms. Spin out, spun in explores the aesthetic potential of circles, light and colour in relation to modernism’s legacy — an inherited, unstable environmental and socioeconomic ground. My research asks: how can predigital and semi-redundant technologies such as revolving disks question the logic of an economic rationalism that deems activities like painting redundant? In this major solo exhibition, Spin out, spun in, traditional and kinetic paintings were exhibited in Gallery 2 and a series of new bird sculptures was shown in Gallery 3. The title Spin out, spun in reflects the sense of disorientation associated with the pursuit of material and cosmic idealism in a society gravely ‘high’ on entropy. In the paintings, modernist tropes are recontextualised to imply the contours of reality, organisms, eyes and their objects. Gallery 2: In the painting Me and my rhythm box, figures are inverted and reversed to evoke a syntax suggestive of the contingency of knowledge. The rhythm box suggests ecological movement, the endless repetition of economic systems or a political fight against the direction ‘progress’ is heading. In the series of bird paintings, colour and vision are interlinked to suggest coevolution and life forces that are ever-responding and mixing at the threshold of our awareness. For instance, In Stealing other artists’ ideas (Painting for Mike), the roosters in Mike Kelley’s Cocks and Balls (1988) textile are replaced with eastern koels. Part of the cuckoo family, the birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds species who raise the cuckoo chicks as their own. Likewise, by using the archive of art, artists form symbiotic or parasitic relationships with the archive of art. The kinetic work, Mama Ocllo, transforms painting into an immersive spatiotemporal and sonic field. The painted support becomes a kinetic medium, presenting both additive and subtractive colour mixing processes. Drawing from the work of James Clerk Maxwell, who employed spinning disks to explore the differences in mixing light and mixing pigments, the work engages with fundamental issues of colour perception that bring aesthetics into the scientific fields of optics and physiology. In Incan mythology, Mama Ocllo, a fertility goddess, taught women the art of spinning thread. Her magical pre-modern origin reflects the generative revolutions of the structure. In this work, light is a metaphoric thread of vibrant transitions reflected from spinning different parts of the coloured spectrum, yet the harmonic vibration and wailing sound suggests humanity’s low blow on natural systems. This work also finds precedents in recent projects with similar rotating disks by Tobias Rehberger and Olafur Eliasson and references Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema and Rotoreliefs, and Sonia and Robert Delaunay’s vibrant Orphic compositions. Kelly, M. (2019). 1. Mama Ocllo 2. Stealing other artist's ideas (Painting for Mike) 3. Eye-light assemblage (Painting for Meret) 4. Binding Light (Painting for Hilma) 5. Me and my rhythm box 6. Black and Blue 7. Canberra birds: Cute craft for the painting archive. Spin out, spun in 2019 was a major solo exhibition supported by Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Some of the works from the exhibition were referenced and reproduced in the forthcoming print edition of Artist profile magazine (2020 Kim Guthrie, ‘Profile: Madeleine Kelly’ Artist Profile Issue 50). 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 kinetic painting Mama Occlo, a major innovation in my practice, gained competitive funding on two occasions from the Faculty of arts and social sciences (FASS) The University of Sydney. 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
painting, artist, kinetic painting, contemporary painting, Australian painting, Australian artist, expanded painting, Bauhaus, entropy
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SPIN OUT, SPUN IN Milani Gallery 2019

Madeleine Kelly Installation view Spin out, Spun in
Installation view Spin out, Spun in
Me and my rhythm box made by Madeleine Kelly and shown in Spin out, spun in Milani Gallery resembles orphism and Delaunay. reshown in TRACE
Me and my rhythm box 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 111.5 x 152cm

ARTIST STATEMENT

Spin out, spun in explores the aesthetic potential of circles, light and colour in relation to modernism’s legacy — an inherited, unstable environmental and socioeconomic ground. The title reflects the sense of disorientation associated with the pursuit of material and cosmic idealism in a society gravely ‘high’ on entropy.

Black and Blue kinetic painting of a single spinning disk made by Madeleine Kelly and shown in Spin out, spun in Milani Gallery
Black and Blue 2019 acrylic on polyester and mixed media (kinetic) 80 x 60 cm

In the paintings, modernist tropes are re contextualised to imply the contours of reality, organisms, eyes and their objects. In Me and my rhythm box, figures are inverted and reversed to evoke a syntax suggestive of the contingency of knowledge. The rhythm box suggests ecological movement, the endless repetition of economic systems or a political fight against the direction ‘progress’ is heading.

Mama Ocllo is a large kinetic painting of 16 spinning disks made by Madeleine Kelly and shown at Milani Gallery, printed in artist profile magazine
Mama Ocllo 2019 acrylic on polyester, aluminium composite board, stepper motors 179.4 x 184 cm Technical advisor: John Tonkin

The kinetic work, Mama Ocllo, transforms painting into an immersive spatio-temporal and sonic field. Drawing from the work of James Clerk Maxwell, who employed spinning disks to explore the differences in mixing light and mixing pigments, the work engages with fundamental issues of colour perception that bring aesthetics into the scientific fields of optics and physiology. In Incan mythology, Mama Ocllo, a fertility goddess, taught women the art of spinning thread. Her magical pre-modern origin reflects the generative revolutions of the structure. In this work, light is a metaphoric thread of vibrant transitions reflected from spinning different parts of the coloured spectrum, yet the harmonic vibration and wailing sound suggests humanity’s low blow on natural systems. This work also finds precedents in recent projects with similar rotating disks by Tobias Rehberger and Olafur Eliasson and references Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema and Rotoreliefs, and Sonia and Robert Delaunay’s vibrant Orphic compositions.

 

Eye-light assemblage (Painting for Meret) a painting by Madeleine Kelly based on Meret Oppenheim’s work shown at Milani Gallery
Eye-light assemblage (Painting for Meret) 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56 cm
Madeleine Kelly Spin out, Spun in
Installation shot, Spin out, Spun in
Stealing other artist's ideas (Painting for Mike) a painting by Madeleine Kelly of cuckoos based on Mike Kelley’s textile Cocks and Balls
Stealing other artist’s ideas (Painting for Mike) 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56 cm

In the series of bird paintings, colour and vision are interlinked to suggest co evolution and life forces that are ever-responding and mixing at the threshold of our awareness. For instance, In Stealing other artists’ ideas (Painting for Mike), the roosters in Mike Kelley’s Cocks and Balls (1988) textile are replaced with eastern koels. Part of the cuckoo family, the birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds species who raise the cuckoo chicks as their own. Likewise, by using the archive of art, artists form symbiotic or parasitic relationships with the archive of art.

Canberra birds: Cute craft for the painting archive a series of 17 new abstract sculptures of Canberra birds made of encaustic on Tetra pak
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

In Canberra birds: Cute craft for the painting archive, part of an ongoing series examining the spectra of birds, bird patterning and colouration are rendered with encaustic wax painting on Tetra Paks. The time consuming activity is one in which living labour adds value to used packaging. It’s a gesture against the logic of an economic rationalism that deems activities like painting redundant.

Madeleine Kelly, January 2019

Binding Light (Painting for Hilma) a painting by Madeleine Kelly based on Hilma af Klimt’s work shown at Milani Gallery
Binding Light (Painting for Hilma) 2019, Oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56cm

1. Colour perception is a heritable characteristic of evolution. Opsin genes encode visual pigments in the eye that bind light. This eye–light assemblage made colour vision possible. See James K. Bowmaker, Evolution of vertebrate visual pigments, Vision Research, Volume 48, Issue 20, 2008, Pages 2022-2041, ISSN 0042-6989, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2008.03.025.