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Maddison Kitching · 'A Partial View'

Art

A young Melbourne-based artist invites us to examine our frames of reference and reflect more deeply on the commodification of the Australian landscape through a new series of bright, imaginative artworks.

Painter Maddison Kitching will open his vibrant exhibition, ‘A Partial View’, at Chapter House Lane in Melbourne this Thursday.

16th January, 2018

Melbourne-based painter Maddison Kitching open’s his solo exhibition ‘A Partial View‘ at Chapter House Lane in Melbourne on January 18th. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

The series examines how creating a palatable form of ‘The Bush’ has gone hand-in-hand with projecting a distorted sense of place and identity. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

The works have been created at Maddison’s former studio at Strange Neighbour, Fitzroy, and his new space in Brunswick. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

Maddison’s landscapes have previously drawn from regional Victoria, in particular Gippsand, but this series is focussed on Narrm (Melbourne). Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

‘”A Partial View” looks to the urban landscape and the ‘natural’ landscape and how these have shaped a colonial identity through place,’ says the artist. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

All artworks have been painted in enamel, acrylic and oil paint on plywood panels, they range from 45x55cms to 75x90cms. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

To add another layer, the works will be presented in the windows of Chapter House Lane, flanked by major architectural landmarks that speak to the history of ongoing colonialisation. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

The series of 10 paintings were completed in the late half of 2017. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

Maddison enjoyed the challenge of painting imagined landscapes without direct references, rather than en plein air while camping as he has done in the past. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

‘The approach to painting these were different from past work; It took me a long time to figure out how to paint them!’ tells Maddison. Photo – courtesy of Maddison Kitching and Chapter House Lane.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 16th January 2018

‘These motifs capture a time when Melbourne was bushland, not bitumen and plane trees…’ – Maddison Kitching.

It’s a little out-of-the-ordinary for a contemporary art exhibition to be so directly influenced by the space in which it will be shown. ‘I wanted to make work that responded to Chapter House Lane – next to St Paul’s Cathedral with a view of the gumtrees just beyond Federation Square on the Yarra River. This tension between the built environment and the landscape were the starting point in developing the series,’ explains Maddison Kitching of his forthcoming showcase, ‘A Partial View’.

The 10 paintings – all enamel, acrylic and oil paint on plywood panels – feature landscapes of Narrm (Melbourne) in pre-colonial times, both imagined and researched by the artist. They hero Australiana motifs inspired by ornamental architectural details of colonial terrace houses, with obscure constructs of The Outback.

‘Through observations in my own neighbourhood, I started to notice things that reflected the flora and fauna that would have been abundant prior to European settlement, which was still apparent on stained glass in old Victorian homes,’ tells the 28-year-old creative. ‘These motifs capture a time when Melbourne was bushland not bitumen and plane trees… The legacy of these pre-settlement landscapes is symbolic of the emergence of a new colonial identity.’

Having focussed on the landscapes of regional Australia for several years, Maddison has exhibited extensively throughout Melbourne and wider Victoria in 2016 and 2017. After graduating with a BA Design (Communication Design) from RMIT University, he has also gone on to found Daisylegs, a graphic design and mural painting practice, with his friend Jamie Edward.

This week, the artist is excited to finally see his work hung within its urban setting, and to see the response from passers-by. After the show, Maddison’s got his sights set on further exploration of this subject matter – namely, the ways in which the Australian landscape is constantly ‘commercialised and celebrated while also being erased’ (look no further than the Adani coal mine in the Carmichael Basin).

The painter is also interested in studying the use of Australian flora and fauna motifs in branding and business via his project Corporate Koala. ‘The biggest challenge, for me, has been unlearning preconceptions about the Australian landscape,’ he tells. ‘This will be an ongoing process of self-education.’

A Partial View‘ by Maddison Kitching
January 18th to February 24th
Opening night Thursday January 18th, 6-8pm
Chapter House Lane
Entry via Flinders Lane, Melbourne

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net