Spin Out, Spun in, Milani Gallery 2019

Madeleine Kelly Installation view Spin out, Spun in
Installation view Spin out, Spun in
Me and my rhythm box made by Madeleine Kelly and shown in Spin out, spun in Milani Gallery resembles orphism and Delaunay. reshown in TRACE
Me and my rhythm box 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 111.5 x 152cm

Spin out, spun in explores the aesthetic potential of circles, light and colour in relation to modernism’s legacy — an inherited, unstable environmental and socioeconomic ground. The title reflects the sense of disorientation associated with the pursuit of material and cosmic idealism in a society gravely ‘high’ on entropy.

Black and Blue kinetic painting of a single spinning disk made by Madeleine Kelly and shown in Spin out, spun in Milani Gallery
Black and Blue 2019 acrylic on polyester and mixed media (kinetic) 80 x 60 cm

In the paintings, modernist tropes are re contextualised to imply the contours of reality, organisms, eyes and their objects. In Me and my rhythm box, figures are inverted and reversed to evoke a syntax suggestive of the contingency of knowledge. The rhythm box suggests ecological movement, the endless repetition of economic systems or a political fight against the direction ‘progress’ is heading.

Mama Ocllo is a large kinetic painting of 16 spinning disks made by Madeleine Kelly and shown at Milani Gallery, printed in artist profile magazine
Mama Ocllo 2019 acrylic on polyester, aluminium composite board, stepper motors 179.4 x 184 cm Technical advisor: John Tonkin

The kinetic work, Mama Ocllo, transforms painting into an immersive spatio-temporal and sonic field. Drawing from the work of James Clerk Maxwell, who employed spinning disks to explore the differences in mixing light and mixing pigments, the work engages with fundamental issues of colour perception that bring aesthetics into the scientific fields of optics and physiology. In Incan mythology, Mama Ocllo, a fertility goddess, taught women the art of spinning thread. Her magical pre-modern origin reflects the generative revolutions of the structure. In this work, light is a metaphoric thread of vibrant transitions reflected from spinning different parts of the coloured spectrum, yet the harmonic vibration and wailing sound suggests humanity’s low blow on natural systems. This work also finds precedents in recent projects with similar rotating disks by Tobias Rehberger and Olafur Eliasson and references Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema and Rotoreliefs, and Sonia and Robert Delaunay’s vibrant Orphic compositions.


Eye-light assemblage (Painting for Meret) a painting by Madeleine Kelly based on Meret Oppenheim’s work shown at Milani Gallery
Eye-light assemblage (Painting for Meret) 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56 cm
Madeleine Kelly Spin out, Spun in
Installation shot, Spin out, Spun in
Stealing other artist's ideas (Painting for Mike) a painting by Madeleine Kelly of cuckoos based on Mike Kelley’s textile Cocks and Balls
Stealing other artist’s ideas (Painting for Mike) 2019 oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56 cm

In the series of bird paintings, colour and vision are interlinked to suggest co evolution and life forces that are ever-responding and mixing at the threshold of our awareness. For instance, In Stealing other artists’ ideas (Painting for Mike), the roosters in Mike Kelley’s Cocks and Balls (1988) textile are replaced with eastern koels. Part of the cuckoo family, the birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds species who raise the cuckoo chicks as their own. Likewise, by using the archive of art, artists form symbiotic or parasitic relationships with the archive of art.

Canberra birds: Cute craft for the painting archive a series of 17 new abstract sculptures of Canberra birds made of encaustic on Tetra pak
Canberra Birds: Cute craft for the archive of painting 2018-19 Encaustic on cardboard with paper and text. 17 parts ranging from approximately 8 x 11 x 11cm to 27 x 9 x 9cm; installed dimensions variable

In Canberra birds: Cute craft for the painting archive, part of an ongoing series examining the spectra of birds, bird patterning and colouration are rendered with encaustic wax painting on Tetra Paks. The time consuming activity is one in which living labour adds value to used packaging. It’s a gesture against the logic of an economic rationalism that deems activities like painting redundant.

Madeleine Kelly, January 2019

Binding Light (Painting for Hilma) a painting by Madeleine Kelly based on Hilma af Klimt’s work shown at Milani Gallery
Binding Light (Painting for Hilma) 2019, Oil and acrylic on polyester 71 x 56cm

1. Colour perception is a heritable characteristic of evolution. Opsin genes encode visual pigments in the eye that bind light. This eye–light assemblage made colour vision possible. See James K. Bowmaker, Evolution of vertebrate visual pigments, Vision Research, Volume 48, Issue 20, 2008, Pages 2022-2041, ISSN 0042-6989, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2008.03.025.