Madeleine Thornton-Smith is an Honours student in Fine Arts at Monash University, Melbourne. Her works use craft materials, illustration, painting, sculpture and working with found natural materials to create colourful sculptures. A strong interest in colour, material and the human impact on nature, as well as the imaginary world of the subconscious has inspired her to create a series of collages, abstract colour works and projections. Attempts to create completely abstract works somehow always reflect an affinity to landscape and colour, organic flowing forms, patterned mountain ridges, dunes and valleys.
Since the beginning of time humans have been leaving a trace on the earth. Industrialisation has lead to a more physical impact through deforestation, degradation of the ozone layer and climate change. As we enter this new age of the anthropocene, it is apparent that humans have left a literal and metaphorical trace on the many layers of the earth.
Landscape painting has been a way that human beings have traditionally aestheticised and “tamed” the wildness of nature, as demonstrated through the development of landscape architecture in early Australian colonial gardens. Much like the indigenous people of Australia, the Australian landscape was also “colonised” and made to behave a specific way to suit the colonial British paradigm of design and morality.
Madeleine’s undergraduate Painting major experimented with various craft-based materials, such as clay, porcelain, wool, thread, felt-tip pen and pencil, and combined these with more traditional art materials such as watercolour, gouache, acrylic and photography. The process of collage has been very important to her work, as she combine different patterns, materials, colours, photographs, found objects and drawings to create new worlds.
Madeleine enjoys challenging herself by using different materials to “paint” with, thus “painting” with wool on founds objects, with imagery of textures and colours, and with light, projecting photographs of her own drawings onto other drawings.