Adelaide-based artist Madeleine Collopy draws on a background in dance to create artworks which explore the connection between temporal movement and performance, as she uses formal elements of drawing to choreograph images for the page.
Collopy completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) in 2008 before studying visual arts at the Adelaide College of the Arts. After graduating last year, Collopy’s work was sele cted for the 2017 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition where she was awarded the Worth Gallery Barn Studio Award.
Introduced this year, the Barn Studio Award grants the recipient a three-month residency at the Barn in Stirling and a solo show at Fisher Jeffries at the end of the residency.
Madeleine Collopy, Labyrinth (detail.)
The Barn was the old horse stables for the Victorian homestead Wairoa which belonged to the Barr Smith family and served as their summer house for 30 years. In 2014, Amy Sierp-Worth (owner of the Worth Gallery) turned the Barn into a gallery space, artist studios, a workshop and a teaching space.
For Collopy, whose residency comes to a close at the end of June, the opportunity has allowed her to have a dedicated studio space where she has been able to create a body of work for the solo exhibition. These works build on the same ideas explored in the work presented at the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition.
Madeleine Collopy, Caramel Adagio 3
While Collopy hasn’t danced for a number of years, growing up and dancing at a young age is something that has become inherent in her. Through her studies she has developed a way to incorporate the language she has developed through dance into her artworks, creating work that is inspired by movement and the body.
“It’s supposed to be not just about dance but rather the synthesis of movement in general, everybody moves,” explains Collopy. “Whether you enjoy dance or not it’s a visceral act; when we watch it, we can relate to it, we know what it feels like to move.”
Collopy is exploring what an audience takes away from performance once it’s over. “Dance is ephemeral; once the performance is over, what do we take away from this? We won’t have the same experience again, so I’m looking at how this can be translated into drawing,” says Collopy.
Madeleine Collopy, Temporary Kinaesthesia
A lot of Collopy’s work has emerged through a collaboration with Jamie Lee, a contemporary dancer based in Brussels. Collopy has been sending Lee written tasks that Lee she responds to via movement, sending videos of her dancing back to Collopy.
“I then create a physical response through drawing or tracing her movements onto large panels,” she says. “I use different colours to express the dynamics her body traces, as well as different drawing materials to express feelings of boldness or subtlety in her movement.”
Through her artworks Collopy is neither representing dance nor reflecting the physicality of creating a drawing but instead she is presenting a synthesis of movement and drawing responses. Collopy is attempting to translate the temporary act of performance into a fixed two-dimensional form.
Fisher Jeffries Gallery
Opening Friday, July 7
Header image: Madeleine Collopy, Pause (detail.)