Madeleine Wick is a two-dimensional artist, art history enthusiast, and self-proclaimed “Mother of Birds”. She graduated with her BFA from Bradley University in 2021 and is currently exploring post- baccalaureate and graduate options.

Madeleine often works in graphite and colored pencil but also enjoys the challenge of mixed media. She also works with linoleum to create relief prints of her flights of fancy. Her subject matter is a melting pot of flora and fauna, womanhood, familial fairytales, and gender studies. Her work is an ode to her grandmother’s fantastical stories about birds and our relationship with mother nature. By transforming images of the natural world, her work allows her to constantly explore and create new menageries, inviting a viewer to see nature in different ways. She is interested in creating spaces that feels like our familiar world but gravitates towards the slightly uncanny valley.

Drawing and printmaking allow her to experiment between delicate and bold renderings of her birds. The creative process is an intimate and favored process for Madeleine. She never considers her work as “complete”, partly due to being a perfectionist, but also because her artistic approach continues to evolve. Working within the two dimensional realm allows her endless possibilities to create her birds.

Artist Statement

Flora & fauna are wonderfully strange treasures of our natural world. Mother nature offers so much for us to ponder and appreciate that I find myself celebrating its peculiar beauty in my body of work. As living creatures, we are all connected, whether we realize it or not. My work is an exploration of nature, intimate relationships, and how the seemingly ordinary can be transformative. While I attempt to portray the natural world in finite detail, I also want to evoke a quality of magic in each of my menageries, bridging the gap between interpersonal fantasy and the outside world.

The presence of a bird has always been fascinating to me. These feathery visitors signify the advent of change, messages we should pay attention to personal transformation(s) that is about to come. Researching different bird mannerisms and lore has led me down a rabbit hole on their symbolism as spiritual totems and messengers. My subject matter is a homage to my grandmother and her fantastical bird encounters. She took notice of the ordinary and made them feel extraordinary. Memorializing her through my birds gives my art purpose. I want to celebrate the marks she made upon my artistic world. Her ability to retell stories of the natural world and her animal encounters, even the most mundane in fashion, was nothing short of whimsical. The spiritual connection that man and nature share is often indescribable and I challenge myself to listen to even the seemingly mundane and relay it into curious compositions. I am constantly considering the “what if?” While I cannot know the answer, I choose to interpret the unknown into my body of work.

I reimagine natural beauty in vivid color, soft rendering, and the occasional unconventional material. The physical devotion and intimacy within the creative process is why I continue to work with two dimensional mediums. Printmaking and drawing require you to persevere in order to get it right. I am constantly working back and forth, making and erasing until I am satisfied. The act of struggle is fundamental to composing my visual narratives. I want what I am creating to be a labor of love from conception to execution. I consider everything I make to be in progress. I approach my work as if it were infinite, as if I can always come back to it and make new marks to reflect their evolution.