John Madden

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John Madden was born in Greymouth on the South Island's WestCoast, in 1953. He studied under renowned landscape painter Toss Woollaston and ceramicist Barry Brickell at Ilam, Canterbury University's School of Fine Art, before taking up work as a potterin Nelson during the 1980's.

Madden is well-known throughout New Zealand as a ceramicist andabstract painter working largely in mixed media. His proximity tohis Celtic ancestry is visible in the alchemical nature of his workand his fondness for ritualistic symbols such as chalices and crosses.

Madden's father was a coal miner on the West Coast of the SouthIsland and the strength, grit and rawness of the industry have hadtheir impact on his art. His paintings are heavily textured with sand and ceramic glazes. Bridging atriumvirate of ceramics, assemblage and painting, Madden's works represent the firing of earth, the cracked and crazed surface becoming a metaphor for his appreciation of the slow and grinding process by which the earth itself is formed andchanged. In essence, Madden's work connects directly with the monumentality of the West Coast earth that inspires him, his workevoking his immediate surroundings: his home and studio atKarekare, where he has been based since 1989 and has developed anintimate and familiar knowledge of the landscape.

Madden has exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and hisworks are held in many public and private collections including theJames Wallace Trust Collection in Auckland.

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