SEPTEMBER is pleased to announce the solo presentation by Reggie Madison (b. 1941, Chicago, IL) at EXPO CHICAGO. We are thrilled to debut significant works from the last four decades of the artist’s practice.
The selection represents Madison’s lifelong interest in abstraction and its manifold representations on a range of surfaces including canvas, paper and wood. The presentation is a sprawling intersection of sculpture and painting that stems from his influence by experimental jazz musicians and visual artists working on the South Side of Chicago as well as subsequent places he lived and worked in from the 1980s through the present.
Madison’s large scale canvases capture what he knows as the magic of the world of jazz he experienced as a child. Although too young to partake himself, his parents transposed their first-hand experiences of Chicago’s jazz club scene and the legendary Club DeLisa by regularly inviting musicians into their home and playing freshly produced records of that time. Enigmatic, gestural and highly charged, the work Zenobia (1992)— first exhibited at Phyllis Kind Gallery who represented Madison at the time— depicts a compressed space of the round the clock entertainment with overlapping figures that are visualized through the lens of modernism and its appropriation of African and Iberian art and culture.
An ode to some of the most original jazz musicians of all time, including Hamiet Bluiett, Andrew Hill, and John Coltrane, the wall works expand on the avant-garde subject matter of Madison’s canvases. face lift (2013) is attributed to the experimental musician and cosmic philosopher and performer Sonny Blount who held a lengthy engagement at the Club DeLisa and there became known as Sun Ra. Constructed out of reclaimed wood sourced from a shuttered chair factory in Hudson, New York, the work is akin to the open improvisational style of jazz Sun Ra championed, particularly in its process of dense composition and layering of material that adheres to a primary, larger structure.
The artist’s proximity to another space of production, the Rising Paper Mill (now Hazen Paper) in Great Barrington, inspired the series of works on paper dated 1987-89. Exhibited for the first time, the textured abstract compositions are created on paper stock Madison acquired from the factory and reflect the context of him working near a site of manufacturing on the Housatonic River in Western Massachusetts. Collectively, these works demonstrate Madison's facility with abstraction—an interest that at present, dominates his studio practice in Hudson, New York.