Christine Sanson Maudy is a peripatetic, French-Australian abstract artist whose oeuvre comprises ten years of 275 breathtaking works, 23 solo exhibitions and over 60 group shows.
Maudy’s contemporary style reflects her persona – elegant, unique, intellectual and focused. Her arts practice transcends cultural barriers and melts geographical borders as evidenced in the illustrations of her exquisite compositions. Intuitively distilling and translating worldwide observations over a variety of themes, Maudy marries these with her instinctive use of brush, paint and mixed media to articulate emotional concepts. As such, her work resonates with international collectors, corporations, critics, gallerists and viewers.
Maudy’s inspired compositions are borne of an artistic journey starting with an epiphany in Africa, which later resulted in the work ‘African Dance’. Acknowledged as pivotal to her oeuvre, Maudy highlights the work as a depiction of emotion, not landscape and, in her words, “A celebration of a turning point in my life. A journey in Africa in 1989 was the emotional shock that changed my life. For the first time I had the feeling of being connected to the land. Africa gave me inspiration to change my life and follow my heart, from there I looked at the world differently.”1
Charting her artistic course, Maudy shifted from her former professions as fashion designer and public relations director in Paris, relocating to be a full time practicing artist based in Australia. Indicating it was the regular travels to Africa, Morocco and Spain for more than 10 years and then settling on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, that inspired her first body of work, Maudy also states “I find my inspiration in memories, experiences and dreams,” as shown in her 2004 work, ‘Midnight Dream’.
Following a decade of prolific output and exhibitions throughout France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Canada, The United Arab Emirates and Australia, Maudy’s artistic career is brought full circle to the March, 2011 ’Three women, No Frontiers’ survey show. Housed in the same art gallery as her first solo exhibition of 2001, Maudy’s work now finds central place in the main gallery, symbolic of her having ‘arrived’ as an established artist, with the exhibition doubling as a marker for the global centenary celebrations of International Women’s Day. 2
By producing works of global commentary Maudy has addressed environmental issues, highlighted political injustices and challenged transgressions of human rights. In calling the viewer to attention with pieces such as ‘September 11’ or the ‘Cries and Whispers‘ exhibition, which showed in Hong Kong, Madrid and Brisbane, Maudy carefully constructs her compositions to deliver an allpervading stillness thus revealing the maturity of a critical, rather than combative, approach toward acknowledging the silences of many. Works such as ‘Rumours’, ‘Whispers‘ and ‘Muted Voices‘, are dedications to those under dictatorial and ‘democratic’ regimes whether it be in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Burma, detention camps, prisoners of war, refugees, victims of terrorism and racism.
The powerful essence of these works is found in Christine’s layering techniques and gestural markings giving voice to the emotional frustrations of populations, as did her ‘Secrets and Lies’ of 2004. Maudy also provides emotional resolution through such pieces as her 2005 ‘Sundance‘ work where, “In a world often in turmoil I felt the need to reflect on the feeling of inner peace and joy. ‘Sundance‘ relates to my natural optimism and faith in our power to make the world a better place”. This is reinforced by the press release to her 20th solo exhibition entitled ‘Imprints’, at the Promenarts Gallery, Balmain, of May/ June 2009 which describes how “Christine’s stunning and inventive use of lines and texture make her abstracts exceptionally powerful and provoke a strong sense of peace and tranquillity within the viewer”.
So inspirational was Maudy’s environmental comment, in the second showing of her landmark ‘Earth Song’ exhibition, that the host gallery was moved to engage renowned artists from the multiple art platforms of photography, composition and performance to respond to Maudy’s works. The significance of ‘Earth Song’ in its awareness raising throughout the arts community and across state borders is part of Maudy’s calling, for she simply states, “I believe that it is the artist’s duty to contribute to raising awareness”. 3
Sharing specific passions within her art making, Maudy provides insight to aspects of both her perspective and process. Her particular desire for detail and love of cinema, along with her penchant for a layering technique at different times play a hand in imbuing certain works with a strong, feminine touch. This feminine presence is evident in the 2006 ‘‘ piece, where Maudy engages with the “sensual pleasures, the soft and rough, visible and hidden, colours and texture”.
Introducing the romance of cinema to her oeuvre, such works include the 2008 ‘Parfum de Femme’ which Maudy indicates “references Dino Risi’s 1974 movie about the always changing and magical feminine presence; the 2009 ‘La Maman et La Putain’ is based on the 1973 film depicting the continual search for the perfect woman and the ambiguity of such”; while her 2009 ‘Amours de Cinema’ underscores famous love scenes which, for Maudy, “have made my heart beat faster and are at the same time a reflection on the impermanence of such love”.
A fascination with the detail of marks manifests in Maudy’s 2005 ‘L Empreinte du Temps’ where she explains, “I have developed a passion for details extracted from landscapes, from signs, walls, symbols. It reflects on the passing of time, impermanence and change. Works reflecting what we leave of our passage – marks, imprints, writing, calligraphies born of many diverse experiences gathered though the years from old walls in Paris to tags in New York to Roman ruins, coloured walls in Italy, sculpted timber in India”. Mark-making as a language is also evident in her 2008 ‘Secret Garden 1, 2 & 3’ attesting to how “my experiences, travels and interaction with the world resonate though my work. It is just like telling a story, I am in a perpetual search of a language, using marks, movements and sometime references to calligraphy and drawing“.
An accomplished, intriguing, enigmatic, articulate and sophisticated artist, Christine Maudy’s twenty years of travel, harnessed in ten years of dedicated art production brings an informed global awareness to her audience. Her two most recent works ‘Illuminate your Unique Path’ (described by Maudy as “a spiritual work, a reflection on the meaning of life, a symbolic path for moving forward”) and ‘Shambhala’ (a metaphor for human quest for happiness and peace) symbolise the power of her oeuvre, to touch viewers beyond frames and borders.
1. All direct quotes are sourced from interviews between Christine Maudy and Sandra Conte, (curator, writer and former gallery director), who has worked with and known Christine Maudy for a decade.
2. ‘Three Women, No Frontiers’, an exhibition independently curated by the author at the Noosa Regional Gallery, is mounted in acknowledgement of Christine’ Maudy’s ten year career milestone as a practicing artist and as part of the global centenary celebrations of International Women’s Day.
3. ‘Earth Song’ was supported by Greenpeace and showed in 2002 at the Contemporary Art Centre of Adelaide (South Australia) and in 2005 at the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery, (Queensland).