Aedan Madden

University High, Studio Arts

Using an exploration proposal to define the development of an individual design process that includes a plan of how the proposal will be undertaken.

Aedan Madden’s interest in Greek Tragedy was the source of inspiration for his idea to explore the notion of fixed character and the idea of innocence before corruption.

In his exploration proposal Madden outlines his idea, inspired by the ancient Greek writer Sophocles.  In his play Ajax, Sophocles character Ajax speaks to his wife and implies that one’s nature is fixed, that nothing can change his convictions, and indeed, his character is also fixed.

Ajax: Close the doors I say!
Tecmessa: Have pity!  Have pity!
Ajax: To think I could change my nature now, on your instruction.


Exploration and development of subject matter and ideas within the design process that are related to concepts and ideas described in the exploration proposal

Madden discusses the research and investigation of his ideas and his intention to look at literature, including the letters of Virginia Woolf and articles on honour killings that occurred in the Middle East.

Exploration of materials and the development of techniques and processes within the design process relevant to the ideas described in the exploration proposal

In his exploration proposal Madden outlines the art forms he will investigate and discusses his intention to present an installation of sculptural and graphic objects exploring the use of space. He makes reference to Louise Bourgeois:  her use of objects in space and their connection with the viewer.

Madden discusses his interest in exploring fabric, looking particularly at pattern and structure. He outlines the textile techniques, materials and fabric he will explore “ from sheer to opaque, woven to knit, and synthetic to natural.”

Madden is also interested in the relationship of drawing and space, experimenting with line in three dimensions. The sculptural and graphic possibilities of plaster of Paris, dental plaster, moulding materials, silicone and other polymers are further areas that Madden aims to investigate.

Through video, Madden wants ‘to experiment with processes that can act as metaphors, perhaps to demonstrate and test the durability of one’s identity or to represent the various responsibilities and pressure associated with becoming a fixed character.’

Exploration and development of aesthetic qualities in the design process relevant to the ideas described in the exploration proposal

Madden outlines in his exploration proposal the aesthetic qualities he intends to investigate. He wants to achieve wholeness and unity, use restrained colour, a monochromatic palette, and also strategic use of high contrast colours. Madden discusses the use of composition in devotional imagery as an influence he will explore. He investigates the work of Yayoi Kusama, which reflects his interest in pattern, and examines how artists including Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Anne Frank, Anne Truitt, Kathy Temin, Mona Hatoum, and Mikala Dwyer  use colour, shape, line and space and minimalist principles.

Evaluation of exploratory and developmental work throughout the design process

In his visual diary Madden documents and annotates his process and development including his three dimensional trials. As a guide to the content of the folios Madden uses coloured stickers. To indicate a selected potential direction he uses a red sticker. A blue sticker indicates that the assessor needs to look into a separate box containing further three dimensional trials. A green sticker indicates that information can be found on the USB stick provided.

Madden documents a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) exhibition Lace in Fashion including photographs of frames in the NGV, looking at pattern in detail. This directly relates to imagery Madden drew from the frames and included in his folio.

Madden suggests that it is important to summarise what you are doing “ where you want to go, to provide drive, and a clear vision, especially when your work is idea driven. Refer to previous ideas relating back to your exploration proposal.”

Selection and evaluation of a range of potential directions that will form the basis of artworks in Unit 4

Madden’s identifies exploration of transparency and pattern, and pattern making as one potential direction.  A second folio explores pattern and drawing, video and printmaking. A total of six potential directions were identified for further exploration.

In SAT 2 the potential directions which were identified in SAT 1 are re- iterated and documented. Madden explains that you can still trial ideas and techniques in Unit Four but it is important to consolidate.

Photos are included which document the processes undertaken in refining the finished work and a focus statement is written.

Folio focus statement, reflection and evaluation documentation.

In the focus statement Madden discusses his intention regarding the six potential directions he has identified and the refinement of these ideas. He resolves his ideas into three installations “formulated around three particular aspects of fixed character: the process of acquiring a fixed character, the process of reflecting on a fixed character and the process of summarising and assessing a fixed character.”

The work selected for Top Arts 2012 draws from his potential direction of sculptural drawing and Madden reflects on this outcome in his focus statement.

 “Through executing the potential direction of sculptural drawing which like the framed fabric work had been completely conceptually developed and also enlarged in scale, I decided that the hinged drawing, when realised was not what I was wanting. The hinges were too fragile and broke easily, giving the quality of decay or that it was breaking down, rather than developing which did not at all fit conceptually. I decided to omit this from my final folio, leaving just the fixed frame and the silicone drawing. On reflection I think this omission is rather successful because the developing acquisition stage ( of the character) has been thoroughly covered in my other installations, and summarising  this stage didn’t seem to sit right in the context of the whole folio of works.”