Madeline von Foerster – Artist Statement
Executed in the oil and egg tempera mische technique developed by the Flemish Masters, these paintings allude to Renaissance sources in both method and style. A strong influence from the School of Fontainebleau loans an aura of mystery and otherworldliness to the artworks. The paintings often resemble Wunderkammern – Enlightenment era “cabinets of curiosities,” where the wonders of nature were collected and displayed. Surrealistic elements also often occur, though in the service of meaning and metaphor, rather than for oddity's sake.
Meaning and beauty are the twin impulses expressed in the work, with neither sacrificed to the other. Concepts are developed and drafted in detail, often involving weeks of research and drawing for a single painting. Flora and fauna, which appear in nearly every painting, are rendered with reverence and exactitude. Photographic references are always interpolated through the filter of the artistic process, being drawn via eye alone -- never projected or traced -- which adds to a visual impression of timelessness.
In subject matter, however, the work is staked firmly to the present day. Humanity's relationship with nature provides an impassioned narrative, with such topics as deforestation and human-caused extinction sounding a recurring thematic knell. The ironic detachment of much contemporary art is challenged, in favor of intimacy, knowledge, and connection. The artworks could be described as “living” still-lifes, which intentionally use the motifs of that genre to explore our assumptions about ownership and objectification of nature. But on a deeper level, they are visual altars for our imperiled natural world.