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Madelaine Ward - A Splash of Colour

Madelaine Ward (1934 – 2014) questioned traditional painting and landscape, by
playing with the psychology of colour and how it affects the viewer. Early in
Ward’s career, traditional subjects such as Landscape and Still Life were
primarily used to explore pleasing composition and implement colour theory. As
Ward investigated these theories and exercised these thoughts, she began to
break the rules of what was traditionally expected in a painting. The
deconstruction of realism, also surfaces in her work as colours become more
important than a pictorial image. In turn, the colours begin to vibrate and create
sensations in the viewer’s perception of the image. The rhythm in mark making
eventually leads to the exploration of geometric images intertwined with colour
vibrations. In the 2013 exhibition Chasing Rainbows, Ward pulled colours across
the canvas and paper in long strips, creating exciting and emotional
juxtapositions of colours; you can’t help but feel uplifted when surrounded by her
line paintings.

Landscape never truly disappeared from Madelaine Ward’s repertoire of subject
matter. In fact, she was noted for her pointillism landscapes of Dundas Valley
vistas; a place she called home. Ever changing seasons sent inspiring colours
through here finger tips and paint brush to stipple dancing images into life on
paper. In this retrospective, her work illustrates that Ward was able to capture a
range of emotion in a poetic manner onto paper. She embraced the traditional
ideas and reworked them into her own style in a way she could unsettle nature,
but playfully explore it through mark making and colour.

-- Andrea Jackman, Curator