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Madeline Schoonover

Nominated by DePaul University

I am compelled to create art that represents my experiences as a young woman navigating through a patriarchal society. I have developed a method to take my complex feelings toward social issues, trauma, and grief and work intuitively to create work that captures my reality. I strive to make art that is aesthetically beautiful but embodies an ugly truth, painful memory, or darkness. I am interested in memory, gender archetypes, and sexuality.

As a child, I would constantly draw women, and obsessed with how women were represented in children’s books, animated movies, and art. I’ve discovered that I instinctively incorporate the female experience into my artwork. My art is programmed by femininity, and yet it seeks to dismantle it. My emotions bleed into my mark-making, color choices, and imagery choices. When I draw, paint, or sculpt, I allow myself to decode my encrypted feelings toward my surroundings through visual language. People often are usually caught off-guard by my work, probably because they are not expecting imagery of rape kits or sugar-coated razor blades within the bright colors and energetic marks. However, these contradictions are essential to my pieces.

My pieces often start quite violently and rudely and end with a great deal of careful articulation. I experiment with layering oil paint, ink, graphite, collage, charcoal, pastels, and found materials to create tension and a visceral quality on a singular plane. Incorporating variety in media helps maintain my curiosity as an artist. Within a single piece of my work, one might find a grossly painted still-life, a sweetly rendered portrait, and embroidered text. These contradictions and surprises within my work challenge my viewers to understand my fickle relationship with my subject matter.

Image: Untitled (Mythical Aunt), graphite, charcoal, ink, pastel, crayon, colored pencil, and thread on paper, 14"x11", 2018

Resident year: 
2018
Cohort Group: 
Artist Resident