Artist Madeleine Gross takes the phrase “you had to be there” to heart. “I am trying to emulate an immersive reality for viewers and induce the sensation of actually being there just by looking,” explains the Toronto-based mixed media artist, who customizes photographs from her travels around the world with vibrant streaks of multi-colored paint. Inspired by the beauty of nature and her hobby of people watching, the everyday dances delicately with the abstract in her unique pieces, which she designs to “abstract landscapes without completely abstracting reality.” Her globetrotting photographs are wanderlust-inducing on their own, but the addition of a few simple and well-placed splashes of color adds an intriguing depth to her work, creating an entirely new narrative that is both refreshing and visceral, that flirts with fantasy while remaining grounded in reality.
Her intuitive strokes immerse the viewer in each image, evoking the sun-soaked sensation of being there through pastel color schemes and realistic movement. The effortless licks of paint embody rippling water in the wake of a jet ski, cotton candy clouds drifting across an afternoon sky, the egg yolk yellow flicker of a beach towel, a pink-hued sunset reflecting on tan summer skin. Maybe we’re just in a summertime state of mind these days, but we can’t get enough of Gross’ serene scenes. Her layered strokes of paint feel like happy accidents, radiating the carefree warmth of the upcoming season. As she puts it, “Life is hard enough and we see so many negative images. If my photography and colorful brushstrokes can set a good vibe and bring hope to my viewer, then I’m happy.”