It is with a pink and black radiance, both cosmic and social, cheerful but sometimes confused, that shines the ten paintings that Madelynn Green hangs at the Almine Rech gallery in an exhibition whose title (“Birth of a Star ») Immediately reveals that the subject of this very young American (barely 28 years old) implements: light. Or rather how is light born and on whom does it land? How to reach her, how to attract the favors of the day, of the visible and the fires of celebrity, especially when you have black skin and have long been invisible? Madelynn Green, a graduate in political science, specializing in African studies, before studying painting in London, does not make her art a personal story, but a collective one – there is not the slightest self-portrait in the exhibition. This question of the light that arises and shines on beings to make them exist for all to see, it takes it from a long way away by depicting the formation of a star at the edge of space in a canvas where a tinted whitish veil of red and blue seem to float in weightlessness.
Birth of a Star (2020), de Madelynn Green. Photo Rebecca Fanuele
Not dazzling, not transcendent, the painting has the value of credits: it introduces these others, more exciting, who feature black-skinned characters who, in groups, together, feast, dance, sing on stage or in the pit . The concert is a recurring motif. Like this portrait of a drummer (Red Giant), pictured behind his cases, chopsticks in hand, and red curtain behind his back. The guy beats time and Madelynn Green echoes with a vibrating brush, alternating blur and precision, the sound waves of the performance of her subject. The same effect of pictorial vibrato in this other canvas placing in the foreground an audience conquered by the musicians who perform on stage in the background, in puffs of pink vapors. In short, the artist retraces the history of Afro-American culture through soul music and funk, a path conquered without much competition. But, beyond these questions of identity and representation, of light and of recognition, this painting tries to dazzle, with a line whose naivety fades under more padded layers, by staging the joy of to be together, grouped, glued. Like this painting, which piles up within the limits of its frame, a crowd of revelers and is brazenly titled Open Cluster.
Madelynn Green Birth of a Star
At the Amine Rech gallery, in Paris (75003), until February 27. Rens. : www.alminerech.com.