Mackenzie Madison is a mid-western artist from Roseville, Minnesota. She is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a 2-Dimensional Emphasis and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. She is a third-generation artist, following the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. Her background in art has propelled her in her pursuits as an artist. Her work focuses on the act of mindfulness from both cynical and optimistic points of view. She has exhibited in several important galleries in the Midwest such as Women Made Gallery (2018) in Chicago, Illinois, Riverfront Arts Center (2018) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and ABC Gallery (2014, 2015) in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In my work I seek to reflect on harmful anthropogenic acts on the environment. Through painting and drawing, I investigate this relationship by combining industrial and modern-day materials with figural imagery. This enquiry is pertinent in contemporary dialogues given the state of environmental and climate-related concerns. Within this discussion, an anxiety emerges over the monumental actions that must occur to effect positive environmental change and my feelings of powerlessness. My goal in my work is to balance my own anxiety while inspiring my viewers to think twice about their actions environmentally.
I have been developing ways to create canvases out of plastic bags, most successfully so far is my technique of “plastique-mâché.” Through this technique, I drench the plastic strips in watered-down glue, and wrap it over a wooden stretcher frame. I hope to push the use of my materials further, in-order-to tease out the nuances between my anxiety and feelings of powerlessness evoked by the environmental issue of waste and pollution.
Currently, I have been painting figural aspects such as feet, lungs, portraits, and hands. With figural aspects, I incorporate waste, currently plastic cellophane. After the painting portion is complete, I take a blade and cut the canvas in pre-planned areas. There, I weave the cellophane into the canvas and sew it into the piece, fully integrating it. To challenge my composition, I often wrap the cellophane around the edges and cut specialty frames that tuck underneath the cellophane, making the frame completely part of the painting. This element is significant, because it keeps my piece connected by all aspects.
From a political perspective, I develop sketches while watching the news or after reading a political news article. These drawings are developed from my anxiety about politics. Growing up, I was bullied a lot by my school peers for the political opinions of my parents. Due to this influence, I rarely spoke about politics. Today, however, I have found my political voice through my drawings. Through these drawings, I balance my anxiety levels and express my political thoughts. Though I still receive political comments in response, my drawings are a source of expression that liberate my anxiety.