Bea Maddock has used cut-out letters from sheets of newspaper headlines to create Solitary. Each letter was attached with hot wax and painted. Over this she applied white wax (encaustic) to create a luminous surface, alive with subtle changes in colour and texture. The repetition of horizontal lines of text, of individual letters and the empty spaces between the words creates a gentle internal rhythm, mimicking the rhythms of the spoken word.
Maddock has explained of Solitary: 'it has to be poetic ... it has to read well and it took a lot of goes to get its final form before I started painting it. I worked it out very carefully in line patterns so I knew it was going to fit ... I was controlled by whether the words fitted and whether they sounded alright.'
Bea Maddock's work ranges across printmaking, photography, sculpture and painting, often merging these disciplines in ways that are subtle and uncontrived. An important aspect of Maddock's work is her interest in the written word, drawing on diaristic references and extracts of poetry, prose and philosophical texts.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008