Historic art behind new exhibition

Adam & Steve, by Michael Madden
Adam & Steve, by Michael Madden

Preview: Exhibition of works by Michael Madden, Weekend Gallery, 86 High Street, until July 15. Free.

Michael is a highly skilled sculptor and painter with an interesting background. He dropped out of an art college course, in order to take up an apprenticeship with a freelance specialist painter and decorator.

Later on Michael returned to college to take up a course in restoration, in order to learn how to utilize his artisan skills in the restoration of historic artworks.

While there he fell in love with wood carving and has concentrated on it ever since, both working on restorations, interior decoration and his own recreations ‘in the style of’.

By taking famous Old Master paintings and giving them a contemporary twist he uses humour to comment on society.

His paintings Adam and Steve and Mr. & Mrs. Ritchie are typical examples.

The former a reaction to a Church of England cleric’s comment on legal same sex civil partnerships and the latter a re-working of Gainsborough’s Mr. & Mrs. Andrews with Madonna and Guy Ritchie taking the leading roles of the nouveau riche couple of the original.

Michael considers his sculptures to be ‘little lies’. Taken from natural forms, the key to them is usually found in the title, so his piece Bad Apple again derives from the Adam and Eve story.

It is in this playful way that he engages with the historic art that he deeply loves and represents it to make it pertinent to the present day audience.