February 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

Art in the family way

Amberle Madden – preparing for her first show – has learned much from her father
Jennifer Larue, Jlarue99@Hotmail.Com
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Amberle Madden, 24, of Spokane Valley, is having her first show at the Gallery of Thum in Spokane, in March. She calls her work “abstracted surrealism.”
(Full-size photo)

Art quote

of the week

“When we are writing, or painting, or composing, we are, during the time of creativity, freed from normal restrictions, and are opened to a wider world, where colors are brighter, sounds clearer, and people more wondrously complex than we normally realize.”

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007), writer

Coming up

Amberle Madden and Susan Rupp will be the showcased artists at the Gallery of Thum through March with an opening reception March 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. 

Emerging artist Amberle Madden had, at one point, decided art wasn’t for her.

As a teen, she watched her father, Roch Fautch, leave a successful job in construction in order to follow his heart and become an artist. “It was kind of hard watching him struggle,” she said. Still, genetics, something inherited or the simple desire to universally communicate with others led her to art.

In her junior year at University High School she decided she liked art, so she took every class available even repeating courses to “remain active, not necessarily to learn.”

She then took art classes at Spokane Falls Community College. “I paint because it’s one of few things that feels completely pure to me. The process I go through is so very playful and experimental that I can’t help but get great joy from it,” she said. “I understand how difficult it is to make a living this way but, to me, my art is an expression of my soul and I cannot turn my back on it.”

Madden, 24, dove headfirst into her painting, mixing her father’s style of surrealism with abstract, creating colorful and whimsical pieces that include clouds dripping into an ocean where black doors float, otherworldly landscapes, flowing figurative shapes and roads curving across strange terrain.

She uses thick layers of acrylic paint with the addition of found objects sewn onto the canvas because glue doesn’t hold so well. She also draws.

Her work, she said, helps her discover things about herself, about others, and about the world around her – though she doesn’t always see it right away. Her paintings touch upon things like pollution, thinking too much or “paralysis by analysis,” searching for missing pieces within ourselves, and finding balance, a thing that Madden has found through her artwork.

Madden, married two years, is pregnant and is currently preparing for her first art show in March at the Gallery of Thum, 2910 N. Monroe St. Her display, called “Slightly Tilted,” will consist of more than 20 paintings and 14 drawings hung alongside emerging watercolorist Susan Rupp. “I’m looking forward to hearing what strangers think of my work,” Madden said.

Even after watching her father struggle early on as an artist, and his bouts of success, Madden has no fear because she gets it now. “He took a leap of faith and fought hard,” she said. “I’ve felt the connection and I get it now. When there is something that is so powerful and true in someone’s life, like my art is to me, you know without a doubt that you have found the path that you’re intended to walk. How could that lead you to failure? Now that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy path, but if you have the power to stand strong and never waver, you will reach the success that you are meant to.”

The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an  artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail jlarue99@hotmail.com.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email