MADGE GILL

b. 1882, London, England
d. 1961, London, England

WORKS    |   BIOGRAPHY    |   EXHIBITIONS   |   PUBLICATIONS

 

SELECTED WORKS

BIOGRAPHY

 

At the age of 37, in March 1919, Madge Gill experienced her vocation as a mediumistic artist. An illness left her blind in one eye and she experienced a postnatal depression after the stillbirth of a daughter. One of her three sons had died the year before. In order to alleviate her suffering, she tried to get in touch with her dead children through spiritualist séances. The result was an unrestrained burst of creative power. Her works, which she produced with seemingly boundless imagination for years, count among the most important examples of mediumistic work and fascinate not only the art world to this day.
Madge Gill was born as Maude Ethel Eades in 1882 in London. Since she was an illegitimate child, she was expelled, put in an orphanage, and then taken to a farm in Canada as a maid. In 1903 she returned to London and worked as a nurse. She came into contact with spiritualism through her aunt. When she entered into her severe life crisis, she began to knit, sing, write and draw automatically at night, in the dark, guided by an otherworldly being called "Myrninerst."

With cheap ink she drew on cloths, paper rolls, postcards. She produced densely crowded scenes, energetic geometric patterns into which the viewer's gaze is inevitably drawn into an unreal scenery, without depth, without hold, into a vortex of circles, checkered patterns, and cross-hatchings that may be stairs, corridors, colonnades, or neither. And usually a female face appears from a gap in the congested sheet, with big eyes and a small nose, a wide hat, and the intimation of a large robe. It becomes the trademark of the oeuvre of Madge Gill.

Her paintings were exhibited already in her lifetime, but she would not sell them, because she regarded the works to be the property of "Myrninerest" and not her own. Today, Madge Gill’s works are represented in many major collections and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

EXHIBITIONS

 

2019 Plants of the Soul: Floral Fantasies between Symbolism and Outsider Art. Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany, 3/31/2019 – 8/4/2019
2019 Flying High: Women Artists of Art Brut, Kunstforum, Vienna, 2/15 – 6/23/2019
2013 Madge Gill: Medium and Visionary, Orleans House Gallery, London
2012 Accidental Genius: Art From the Anthony Petullo Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
2010 The Museum of Everything, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy
2008 British Outsider Art, Halle Saint-Pierre, Paris
2006 Inner Worlds Outside, traveling exhibition, Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundacíon "La Caixa," Madrid; WhiteChapel Gallery, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
2005 Dubuffet & Art Brut, traveling exhibition, Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany; Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne; Museum of Modern Art Lille Metropole, Villeneuve-D'ascq, France
1999 Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire, messages d'outre monde. Halle-Saint-Pierre, Paris, France, 9/13/1999 – 2/27/2000
1992 Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Cardinal, Roger, Madge Gill: Postcards from the Spirit World. Raw Vision, No. 80, Winter 2013.
Cardinal, Roger, The Art of Entrancement: European Mediumistic Art in the Outsider Domain. Raw Vision, No. 2, Winter 1989-90.
Cardinal, Roger, "Madge Gill: Postcards from the Spirit World," Raw Vision, No. 80, Winter 2013.
Cardinal, Roger and Martine Lusardy (eds.), Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire, messages d'outre monde. Exhibition catalogue. Halle Saint-Pierre & Éditions Hoëbeke, 1999.
Cardinal, Roger, L'Art Brut, Fascicule 9. Compagnie de l'Art Brut, Paris, 1973.
Martin, Jean-Hubert (ed.), Dubuffet & Art Brut. Im Rausch der Kunst. Düsseldorf: Museum Kunst Palast, 2005.
Inner Worlds Outside. Exhibition catalogue, Fundacíon "La Caixa," WhiteChapel Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art & Ediciones El Viso, Madrid, 2006.
Lusardy, Martine (ed.), British Outsider Art. Exhibition catalogue. Paris: Halle Saint Pierre, 2008.
Stone, Lisa (ed.), Accidental Genius: Art From the Anthony Petullo Collection. Exhibition catalogue. Milwaukee Art Museum: Milwaukee, 2012.
The Museum of Everything. Exhibition catalogue, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli & Electa, Turin/Milan, 2010.
Thévoz, Michel, Art Brut. New York: Rizzoli, 1976.

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