Cate Maddy

Loud and Lunatic

July 1 - July 15 2017

In Cate Maddy's previous exhibition with Anthea Polson Art she created beautiful artificial worlds to assuage her longing for nature and a feeling of disconnectedness from it, saying, "My paintings are as if scraped off the city's walls, rubbed as in the graffitied laneways and coloured by technology". Predicated by a relocation from Melbourne's busy streets, the inspiration and process for this new body of work is entirely different. "After a big change in my life a few years ago I moved to a bushland area and planted a native garden in my new house," says Maddy. "I also travelled to Africa and Europe and although captivated by the landscape of these countries, it inspired me to want to paint more from nature in my own country."

"I am now revisiting the still life tradition and looking at contemporary ways of negotiating the relationships between stasis and movement," Maddy reveals. Explaining the seemingly incongruous title for this body of work she continues, "Although the paintings are still life in genre there is nothing still about them, on the contrary, they are pretty Loud and Lunatic! The bushland is full of noisy life - the raucous parrots, rustling leaves. The title also reflects my expressive brushwork and riotous colour, the excitement and adrenalin I feel while painting."

Maddy's art is galvanised by creative process. She describes how although loving abstraction she also wanted to reference nature more directly. "I found that painting the bush needed a different surface from the flat abstracts of previous shows and so the works became more painterly as they progressed. Gradually my love of pattern entered in the form of ‘nets' or chequered patterns woven through many of the pieces." Maddy tells of how these undulating grids came to represent domicile notions as well as the inevitable reach of technology with its infiltration of airwaves.

"Although my inspiration and process has changed, colour and size have remained intrinsic to my work. I prefer to work on a large scale because I like to use my whole body to create energy and flow in the placement and brushwork. I start the work with washes of acrylic to roughly mark in the composition and then build up layers in oil paint allowing the under-colour to surface through the brushstrokes."
"I'm particularity interested in using colour to heighten emotion in a piece," furthers Maddy. I tend to do paintings either in warm or cool hues. Strangely, the colour affects the way I apply it. For some reason I can paint much more freely and painterly with the warm red, yellow and brown pigments. The blues have a different energy and I find them harder to build up. Sometimes a painting comes together quite quickly but at other times it might take me months in the attempt to finally resolve a piece.

With the exuberant colours and continual interplay of visual relationships, Maddy's paintings exude aesthetic joy. They induce the kind jubilation that one might experience when immersed in the energies of wild, natural places.


Cate Maddy's talent gained early recognition in the award of a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction from RMIT 2005, as well as the RMIT & Siemen's Travel Scholarship that she utilised to visit New York. She has been a Finalist in the following art prizes: Prometheus Award 2011; Redlands Art Award 2010; John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Gallery, Sale 2010; Williamstown Contemporary Art Award 2009; MLC Art Prize 2007;
John Leslie Art Prize 2006.

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