Photography / Editorial / Print

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 12

London born artist, Madeleine Fenwick, has "always been obsessed with materials, drawing, rendering and layers," leading what she calls a "visual life - it is how I recall everything, through pictures and drawings."  Her work is deeply influenced by her environment and "how I perceive the city and society to be, in particular the urban environment."

"I think there is a constant cycle of creation and destruction, relationships blossoming and dying." The London riots particularly resonated with Madeleine as "the huge uproar in London with the terrifying things going on, the fires that burnt that night and the motivation and feeling felt is is still there."  There is a "knife-edge balancing act of existence that hangs between creation and destruction," and her work entitled '8th August '11', one of the days of the London riots, highlights the chaos that ensued that day, billowing plumes of smoke, the darkness of the night and buildings aflame - engulfed by darkness, yet lit by fire.

Hugely influenced by Joseph Mallord William Turner and the "phenomenally kinetic works of Julian Mehratu," her work uses Turner's more expressive and emotive use of space to paint a picture of a city, one in which she has grown up, lives and from her work, we sense is all consuming. The paint "marks can be viewed as pure smears of paint", but are "also evocative of recognisable shapes and structures", a city skyline emerges, "focussing on tiny details without becoming too faithful to reality."  The works entitled 'Byzantine', with rich use of gold leaf is in stark contrast to that found in 'Toxicity,' the bitumen and dark oil shades, suggesting pollution and decay. They are an emotive comment on urban life, good or bad, something we should not ignore. 

Saddened by the extreme divide and inequality in society, she describes her work as either "looking down onto this dark wasteland or looking up into the light," you are amongst the dark seething masses in this city or "in this light space, very much transitional, you never know where you will be." For society to really progress, "we need to strive for less division and really pool our energies together to build something better."

Interview by Nardip Singh
Images supplied by Rook and Raven
Copyright © Madeleine Fenwick

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