Abstraction is often defined in terms of what it is not – specifically the absence of discernible subject matter or reference to the visible world, placing content in an uncomfortable, yet dynamic place between representation and abstraction. Within this place, line, color, and form can compete for importance. I explore the creation of visual hierarchies within a composition that is wholly determined by the intentionality of creation, obliteration, and obfuscation. Whereas, in my representational work, subject matter often determines content, in my abstract painting, formal considerations dominate.
A commitment to the act of painting in which the hand of the artist, the color palette, and the gesture is anything but a neutral player–often is the catalyst to content in my paintings.
In my most recent work, I have employed various processes and resisted any predeterminate ranking of visual elements, eschewing the need to maintain preciousness of specific parts in favor of creating a harmonious painting as whole. The painting process, in which one momentary decision can dramatically affect or determine the next, is a continuing source of fascination for me. I often draw from the natural world for my inspiration, especially focusing on our sometimes detached relationship with nature. The emotional impact of colors and color relationships are a important to me as any subject matter. I layer colors, textures, manipulate space, and contrast solidity with added bit of personal ephemera, that can create a nostalgic suspension of time, even while appearing on the verge of motion. The responses evoked by my life experiences, even the most mundane, inform my paintings. With these highly personal aspects converging with the formality of painting, I intend for my work to create a journey or dialogue between the viewer and me, as the artist. My paintings convey an ever-present tension even while the surface may appear calm or quiet. I often work in series of paintings around a common theme or concept which allows more complete exploration and growth, not to mention, inspiration for my next painting.
Rebecca Birtel Madura is a New Orleans born visual artist. She earned Bachelor Degrees from University of Texas at Austin in both Fine Art and Liberal Arts as well as a post-graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management. She has a Master of Liberal Arts from Tulane University. She is retired from 30 years as a K-12 art teacher, and the staff art instructor at NOMA to focus on her own practice. She continues to be involved in art education teaching class, workshops, private lessons, and as an evaluator for the Talented in Visual Arts program. Presently, she teaches academically gifted high school students at Lycée Français. She serves on the Board of Directors for YAYA, Inc. and is on the Executive Committee. She is also a guest artist and studio instructor with the organization. Rebecca is the President of the Board of Directors of New Orleans Green Light, where she also creates original artwork on barrels for GLNO’s rain barrel program helping to address the environmental issues of the city. She has also participated in the CVU Utility Box program, painting four boxes located in public spaces through the city. Her work is included in the collections at Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business; Jung Hotel New Orleans; Ochsner Elmwood Sports Medicine Center and North Louisiana Campus; Provenance Hotels, Portland,OR; Global Business Center, New Orleans; The “Queen Sugar”television series set, and various local and national private collections. She is currently affiliated with Where Y’Art Gallery in New Orleans.