Margot Waller Madgett is a visual artist working with an experimental approach, blending materials and methods to create contemporary, abstract, modular arrangements, and mixed media paintings and sculpture to inspire mood, contemplation, and connection with oneself and the world around us.
Margot was born and raised on the Island Guam where her father, a California born entrepreneur and her Guamanian mother opened Guam’s first hotel in the early 1950s. The second youngest of nine brothers and sisters, Margot found it difficult to stand out and was painfully shy. So much so that her parents enrolled her into a special summer program hoping that it would help her break out of her shell. There, in a classroom filled with art supplies, Margot first found her voice in painting. It sparked her imagination, and the freedom she felt to create anything she wanted, still finds its way into her art today. Margot’s family moved to San Diego in the early 1970s, and Margot continued to study painting throughout her formative years into high school and college, where she was advised by one of her professors that the only true way to learn how to paint is by painting. Margot took those words to heart and rented her first studio in downtown San Diego, where she continued to pursue an intensive regimen of self-study. She began to show her work in the early San Diego Art Walks and was soon being featured in group shows and galleries throughout San Diego and Los Angeles. Her first works were direct paintings of female forms in oil and acrylics, in a style that was modern, playful, and colorful.
Margot’s passion for creating drives her to work on several series at a time. She uses a variety of techniques and materials (acrylic paint, oil stick, solvent transfers, pencil, charcoal and ink) and imagery in mixed media on wood, panel and canvas. Her work has a powerful sense of presence. She integrates color, mood, form and composition, creating a unity, which is both understated and deeply moving. You will find elements of movement, texture and layering with combined mediums to weave threads of connecting imagery taken from nature, abstract elements, and humanity throughout her work - subtle underlying stories hiding in plain sight, purposely open to interpretation. Margot integrates and repurposes discarded and found materials bringing them new life in her work. She was commissioned to incorporate the debris from a WWII veterans’ airplane wreckage her client dug up from his Fathers crash site into a painting. She turned those broken fragments into a grouping of paintings and sculptures that told his father’s story in a way that he could never have imagined.
Margot has also developed a distinctive style of contemporary children’s portraiture, incorporating individualized motifs, photography and painting that are so personal and so powerful, they often bring her clients to tears. She has a unique ability to capture the essence of each child’s spirit and turn them into the central character in a significant contemporary painting.
Margot has exhibited extensively throughout southern California and is in corporate and private collections. Art critic, Robert Pincus writes, “The CCG series is ethereal and absorbing, which evokes a series of prominent sources they include CY Twombly and Brice Marden”.
Margot lives and works in San Diego’s coastal north county.
The Dream Series
| A Subconscious Exploration |
Open to Interpretation – The Chaos of Abstraction with Storylines In-between
My work is like a story in the making. While I’m working on a piece it’s like being in a storm - spontaneous using my wits, composed and chaotic, in control and out of control. It is like while you’re experiencing a moment, you can’t tell a story about it until after it has happened. You have to see what happens, going along with the grooves of life. It is only after that you can make sense of it and tell a story about it to yourself and to others. I work from source materials and use mixed techniques, which allows me to discover and execute in the moment, using imagery, color and abstraction. Together this becomes something that is unfolding and telling. My reoccurring use of images from nature, such as birds and lotus flowers, are symbols and visual cues into the work and multiple interpretations. I use perspective grids and boxes as a way of telling the viewer about the possibilities and differences of our own perspectives of life.
I feel my work is a subconscious interpretation of humanity’s desire for peace and spiritual satisfaction. In life and in my work, we are on a search for the positives in awareness, knowledge and connection - with nature and with each other, throughout our own personal journeys and stories. My hope is for a connection between the viewers’ interpretation and my work, as a visual thought-provoking story line.
Press Release 2013 Sustainability Matters Art Show, San Diego, CA
Margot Waller Madgett is a painter, sculptor, photographer and mixed media artist. Within the complex dichotomy of daily life, Margot seeks to balance serenity within the hectic pace of contemporary culture. Margot's paintings are intimate, introspective expressions that convey eloquence, a quiet refinement of color and maturity of expression, while maintaining a sense of intrigue. Searching for permanence and substance beyond our daily lives, she uses everyday sights as visual cues in her paintings, at times incorporating birds, symbols, and organic forms as subject matter for pieces that often beg the question: object or symbol? There exists in her work a simple, undeniable integrity in the expression and in the images. The integration of color, mood form and composition create a unity, which is both understated and deeply moving.
In her Currents, Cycles and Grooves (CCG) series, Margot uses and explores lines in movement. With the CCG series, Margot designs and builds a sequence of individual panels both large and small, with layers of color, texture, crisp lines and deep grooves to create currents of energy and cycles, weaving them in and out, to and fro, pushing and pulling the viewer throughout her work. However you look at them, there is a sort of pulsating energy about them with a distinctive color and mood. These pieces are intended to be modular, allowing Margot the versatility to alter the arrangement of her work in response to her mood or to a given architecture.
Margot works in acrylic paint along with other media such as oil, pencil, charcoal, Conte` crayon, ink, oil stick, gold leaf, solvent transfers, patching cement, glue and some sculptural elements such as recycled wood, fabric and metal on multiple handmade wood panels and canvas or a mixture of the two. Aware of the changes in the world and the environment we live, Margot has been incorporating more non toxic materials and eco-friendly techniques in her work over the years, constantly researching and experimenting with new ways to paint effectively and still be conscious of the effects manufactured art mediums can have on the environment. She builds wood panel supports to paint on from salvaged wood and uses discarded latex paints to save them from ending up in landfills. She also incorporates natural dyes and stains from organic materials such as coffee grinds, beet juice, onion skins, and grass. Margot has a collection of recycled objects as well as studio constructed tools made out of sticks and bamboo that she works with to create textures, lines and patterns. Some of Margot’s sculptural works consist of a found piece of drift wood off Cardiff beach or scraps of metal screen worked into something to be viewed and appreciated as opposed to being discarded waste.
Margot was born and raised on the island of Guam, until moving to San Diego with her family in the early seventies. She studied Art at SDSU and Santa Monica College before launching into a lifelong discipline of self study, combining and experimenting with various mediums and techniques; including her signature portraiture commission series of children she coined “Art Image Portraiture”. She currently lives and works in coastal North San Diego County, California with her husband and two children. Margot has exhibited extensively throughout southern California and is in corporate and private collections. Art critic, Robert Pincus writes, “The CCG series is ethereal and absorbing, which evokes a series of prominent sources they include Cy Twombly and Brice Marden”.