Madison Nelson is a 2020 graduate from the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley. She grew up around horses, and as a result, horses have inspired her from a young age. In her work, Madison aims to capture reality in its purest form through highly rendered, representational drawings. Whereas oil and acrylic paint on canvas informed her work in the past, more recently she has refined her practice to drawing mediums, such as graphite and ballpoint pen, as well as intaglio printmaking. This printmaking technique appeals to her because it requires the artist to patiently plan an entire piece in advance before embracing the many unpredictable outcomes involved in the printing process. Most of Madison’s work is based on photographs she takes, as she believes photography is as close to objective reality as you can get. The translation process from photo to drawing/print then creates an environment in which her viewers can see what she sees, in turn bringing light to parts of reality that are often overlooked.
Two of Madison’s prints have been added to the Graphic Arts Loan Collection, and are available to students at UC Berkeley to borrow. Below are some thoughts on the prints from Madison.
In my two prints, I used subject matter that I am very passionate about: horses and cars. I felt that the Intaglio printmaking process was especially well fit for the image of my personal vehicle because of how much work and planning it took to achieve the final image. Since before I can remember, I had always wanted to own a mustang. With a lot of financial planning and hard work throughout college, I was able to purchase one on my twenty-first birthday. I wanted to commemorate my dedication to achieving that dream with a print of the car. The process and planning it took to reach the final print quite closely mirrors my path to purchasing the real car; for that, this piece holds a special place in my heart and is a reminder to myself that you can do anything you truly put your mind to.
The horse print started out more as an experiment, and having ridden horses for fifteen years of my life, they provided me with a familiar subject that I could comfortably experiment with through a new technique. I put an aquatint on the plate and submerged it in the acid for a full twenty minutes, thereby creating a black print that I then scraped away to reveal the image. This was quite challenging at first because it is difficult to gauge how much pressure is needed to take away the desired amount of the etched surface. Although I am pleased with the final product, I learned how little pressure it takes to achieve more mid-range shades and would go lighter handed the next time I used this method.
The Art Practice & University Library Printmaking Award is given to the undergraduate student in the Department of Art Practice who has demonstrated an astute understanding of printmaking techniques, as well as an advanced ability to express themselves through the medium of printmaking. This award was established in 2018 by the Department of Art Practice and the University Library, and is given to one or two students each academic year.
Artist: Chamberlin, Wesley
Title: Yuba River III
Medium: Linocut, Woodcut
Dimensions: 34 x 27.5”
Description: Signed and titled.
Artist: Nelson, Madison
Title: Dark Horse
Description: Signed and numbered by the artist.
Artist: Nelson, Madison
Title: My Mustang
Description: Signed and numbered by the artist.
By Marcel Moran
Had a positive experience. I searched through the online database, selected two pieces, and picked them up at the library. They have been wonderful additions to our home. I will continue to make use of GALC for as long as I am at Berkeley.
By Sarah Harrington
I love the GALC collection. My 3 year old started talking to me about the piece the other day and asking who created it. We wouldn’t have the budget to rotate art in our household without the GALC collection, and the collection is a great way to expose her to different kinds of art!
By Keith McAleer
It was so nice to have unique works of art hang in my home! I look forward to trying new pieces. Thanks so much for this awesome program!
By Sarah Vernallis
My mother grew up in the San Fernando valley and remembers being taken to see exhibitions of work by Sister Corita Kent and her students. I remember being taken by my parents to see a documentary about her political art and radical teaching. It was a pleasure, then, to have one of Kent’s prints up in my home for a year, trying to decipher its poetic lines and staring at her penciled signature.
The GALC prints that I checked out this year helped provide a burst of color on the walls. They were always a talking point whenever we had company and really made our apartment look classy and put-together. I hung Garden Island III on the wall across from the front door, and it provided a beautiful focal point as soon as we entered the apartment.
By Yuen Ho
These gorgeous prints allowed us to bring high quality art into our home. Whether decorating our bedroom or study nook, seeing these prints everyday gave us a jumping point for conversation, reflection, and aesthetic appreciation. Thank you for the opportunity to cultivate a love of art within our humble home.
By Evan Larson
The GALC program added so much to my years at Cal. Each year, my rommates and I enjoyed picking out the pieces of art that we would display in our rooms. Throughout the year, I get to enjoy looking up at a beautiful print. Whenever anyone comes over to visit, the usually make a remark about my GALC print – it’s the centerpiece of the room. I especially liked telling other Cal students about the program and seeing GALC pieces appear on their walls next year.
By Julia Sizek
Our dining room has been a wide open canvas in this giant house where I’ve been lucky to live for a year and a half. The room is one of the darkest in the house, a deep red color that the fast food industry would tell you makes you hungry. We would have never picked such a color, but it preceded us: the dining room, like the rest of the house, is owned by our landlords who are reoccupying the house this summer. When we gave our thirty days’ notice in advance of the impending move, I began taking down the prints in our dining room that we had to return to the library. I had borrowed two, as had one of my housemates. Each of them were beautiful, but the one that I spent the most time examining–mostly when I was pretending to write my dissertation, as I am also doing at this very moment–was “La Carpe” (“The Carp”) by Mario Avati. The print depicts a carp, its skeletal structure visible inside its fishy outline. One of the things that always vaguely upset me about the print is that the fish has no real eye, just a blank socket as one would expect in a skeleton. The blank eye circle is mirrored in the background, a horizontally pinstriped sheet with circular blots that look like carefully drawn circles from far away and water stains from close up. It’s fitting that the skeletal carp is surrounded by water circles, and it reminds me of one of the rules that they told us at the moment when they gave us the picture: don’t put it in the bathroom, they said. We agreed, and instead hung a cheap print of “St. Anthony Tempted by the Devil in the Form of a Woman” (Sausetta), a joke of sorts that we intended to leave to unsettle our bathroom users, a way to lighten the darkness of the house and the fact that it would never be ours.