Maddie Yuille’s paintings depict fragments of familiar domestic environments devoid of people, in which she attempts to make physical the momentary sensation of witnessing the familiar become strange, the inanimate enlivened. Each image holds a tension of expectation – that the human presence implied may be just about to appear. This tension manifests in the suggestion that the viewer might not be the only one doing the looking – perhaps they too are being looked back at. She explores the boundaries between spaces – of interior and exterior, the known and unknown – and the possibility or otherwise of bridging these distances.
Her process begins with photography – taking digital photos on her phone of her surroundings, spontaneously in moments at which the everyday appears to her with a heightened sense of presence. The final paintings often retain the exaggerated perspective of a photo, implying the distancing presence of a lens. With a background in documentary making, she sees each painting as a “cut-away” – a fragmentary glimpse of something seemingly ordinary that can hold significant meaning to elucidate a narrative. However, with each of these fragments isolated the surrounding narrative is removed, and the viewer instead is left to gaze upon the singularity of the thing observed – a lamp, a chair, a curtain. In this gaze, time is held and elongated and the smallest of details can become a thing of note.
Each painting is built up in layers of translucent colours, creating a shifting world in which there resides a potentiality – of the familiar becoming strange or wondrous. Hovering between the figurative and abstraction, each image clearly depicts a thing or space known, and yet it can also dissolve in to a collection of brush marks on a surface. She plays with this illusionism in the repeated motif of the window and curtain, in which the painting becomes a portal to a suggested world beyond, yet at the same time the insistent reality of paint on a surface remains.
Maddie Yuille (born 1988, UK) graduated from City and Guilds of London Art School with an MA in Fine Art in 2019. Prior to this she studied Human Geography at BA at The University of Bristol, and worked for a number of years in documentary making. She has been included in numerous group shows, including with Warbling Collective, The Violet Hour, and Subsidiary Projects, and was shortlisted for the Contemporary British Painting Prize in 2019.