madison smith

June 2009

My work is molded from a combination of life experiences and the personal research that follows.  I find that what compels me most in my work is the underlying interplay between a variety of seemingly adverse notions, including growth/restraint, nature/nurture, body/spirit, order/chaos, past/present, and tradition/innovation. A potted plant, for instance, is a microcosm through which to observe the miraculous renewal and transformation of nature.  And yet a potted plant never stands alone--the gardener, both nurturer and oppressor, is implied.  As I muse on time, change and stillness, I attempt to alter viewpoints through the use of scale and composition, thus posing questions about the relationships between people, places and things.

In 2004 I began a series of work in which I identified distinguishing remnants of my past that I could reintroduce in an unfamiliar context, to stand as a token of a particular time and place.  I constructed scale models of these remnants of memory, combined with some objects from the present, in the form of miniature furniture, that I then could rearrange to make still-life subjects.  Material, color and pattern were all important elements in my recollection and reconciliation of past and present.   

Ralph Waldo Emerson said every man is a quotation from all of his ancestors.  In my current work I often consider the origins of personality.  I wonder about the role of genetics in determining behavior and to what extent we can affect these coded tendencies within us.  I scrutinize a variety of cultural signifiers and their relationship to personality within both contemporary and historical contexts.  Further, I have begun to explore how the evolution of scientific and philosophic thought shapes our cultural environment.  In my research I am often struck by the apparent interconnectedness of all things--even when they may seem on the surface to be completely disparate.  The juxtapostion of seemingly unrelated elements creates new questions and uncovers unexpected nuances.