In late 2021, my mother requested a commission, a painting of an old photograph of herself, my uncle, and my grandmother from the late 1960s to be transformed into a large painting for her home. We had lost my grandmother in late 2020, and my mother, missing hers, wanted to keep her memory alive. Working on this commission gave room to a lot of thought on my part, about the family I had built in Savannah during my years there. As I found myself leaving Savannah and moving to the next chapter in my life I thought often of the memories that had been made, and the photos from all of our adventures together. I often found myself thinking back to that commission, and to the fleeting nature of memories, those moments we hold so dearly that fade with time.
My new series of paintings, Interlude, focuses on my found family and queer community in Savannah, and the fleeting nature of memories. The culture of queerness draws us together, providing us with comfort and community. This work is about celebrating my community and queer family in Savannah, and acts as a thank you for all those years of love and support. It is an ode to our memories. The work is primarily narrative portraits, which I think speak to the lighthearted nature and good humor of the joyful little family we made for ourselves.
The titles of the paintings, much like the subject matter, are pulled from memories. These words are taken from offhand notes of comments and small moments over the years together in Savannah.
However, as memories may fade, so will those photographs which we hold dear. From light leaks in the camera to aging sun damage, all things fade. Taking these photographs from Savannah I am enlarging them, flaws and all to create paintings whose longevity may outlast our living memories.
Sooltan Madsen (b. Sun Valley, Idaho) received a B.F.A. in painting from The Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA in 2022. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions across the United States including galleries in Savannah, Chicago, Laguna Beach, Long Island, and San Diego, as well as internationally in Galway, Ireland. Madsen makes colorful portraits surrounding LGBT and western identity. Madsen received an honorable mention award from the Art League of Long Island. Her most recent exhibitions that ran simultaneously were, Proud to Be Seen in Tubac, AZ, SCAD Painting Senior Showcase in Savannah, GA, and Proud+ in San Diego, CA. She also spent the beginning of the summer of 2022 at Watershed Studios in Galway, Ireland doing an artist residency. She currently lives and works in Minneapolis, MN.