"Album" by Paul Madonna
For the Electric Works "(In What Era Will You Get Stuck?)" show, Madonna, whose work redefines comics by combining art and literature, rethinks the process of creating a body of work for exhibition. Album puts the book first. As the primary show object, Album is the focus and final product, with the art hung on the walls serving as a catalog for the book.
A play on single panel cartoons, Madonna’s large-scale (up to 50 by 60 inches) meticulously drawn pen and ink images of 1970s and 80s childhood-era toys, swell the poignancy of the punch line.
Wanting the work to live beyond the large two-dimensional panels hung on a gallery wall, Madonna offers the book object as portable art, stemming from his life’s career of zine and book-making, and the love of the book as a tangible, tactile art form. Transformed beyond merely a record of the exhibition, Album is as much a conversation between the artist and reader about the impetus that led to the creation of the drawings, as well as a document of the various completed works, some pieces of which have been purposely destroyed, buried under the final, displayed version.
As an artist who creates three weekly art series, one of which is published by the "San Francisco Chronicle," Madonna created Album as a yearly publication, in order to work on a different timetable. Inspired by his love of music and respect for a musician’s collection of songs as a recorded document of a creative process, and believing that the progression between albums is as valuable an indicator of the work as each individual album itself, Madonna set out to create his version of an album, in his preferred mediums of drawing and text. Album 01 is replete with Liner Notes, where Paul Madonna discusses his process and approach to this premier issue.
The art in this first issue of the new Album series, its conscious choice of time as a component, and that each facet focuses on visuals conjoined with language, not only captures the viewer’s senses on a multiplicity of perpetually renewed levels, but defines the characteristics of this thoughtful, productive and meticulous artist, giving us a glimpse into what proves to be a lifelong career of expression. Expect a collection released annually from this prolific artist, with an arc of process and intentionality expressed over the course of years to come.