Summer ’97

Madelynn Green (1993 - )

Oil on canvas


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© Madelynn Green

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  • About the work
    Madelynn Green’s paintings transform archival source material into pictorial experiences touching on the subjects of memory, family, place and nostalgia. Writing of Summer ‘97, the artist explains:
    This painting is based on a photograph taken on the 4th of July 1997 in a rural Mississippi town called Meridian. It depicts my sister (left), my cousin (centre) and me during Independence Day celebrations. I found this image in a file of old family photographs. It was taken by my great-grandmother, a passionate photo-taker. By repainting the image, I sought to reimagine her gaze while constructing a new narrative from my own perspective. After moving to London in September 2017 to study at Central Saint Martins, I felt a great deal of nostalgia for the past. I dealt with this by doing a series of paintings that were based on family photographs. Ironically, being away from my home made me focus more intently on it.
    This work explores themes of identity, memory and how the latter can be reconstructed. On closer examination, certain details are clear and realistic within the work, such as my face and the middle child’s body, while others are abstracted. The face of the girl on the left is obscured with a thin layer of dark paint and I’ve changed the lighting of the original photograph by adding a spotlight. This spotlight makes the painting function as a self-portrait that pays homage to my identity, my family and a cherished memory. By using light and color to highlight certain elements of the painting and leave others ambiguous, I am reimagining history.
  • About the artist
    Born in 1993 in Milwaukee, USA, Madelynn Green lives and works in London. She graduated in Political Science/Africana Studies from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (2015) and obtained an MA in Fine Arts from Central St Martins, London (2019). She has had solo exhibitions at Taymour Grahne Projects, London (2020) and Almine Rech, Paris (2021). Her work has featured in group exhibitions including ‘Un Hiver à Paris’ and 'No Man is an Island', Almine Rech Gallery, Paris (2020, 2021); 'Counteracts', Lethaby Gallery, London (2020); ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’, Liverpool Biennial and South London Gallery, London (2018, 2019). In 2020, she was awarded the Tiffany & Co. x Outset Contemporary Art Fund Studiomakers Prize.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Summer ’97
    Oil on canvas
    Purchased from Bloomberg New Contemporaries, March 2019
    verso, bl (in pencil): Madelynn Mae Green 2018
    New Contemporaries; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 2019
    GAC number