Born 1882. Died 1961.
Madge Gill, born Maude Ethel Eades in London, 1882, was an illegitimate child and spent much of her early years in seclusion. At the age of nine she was placed in an orphanage, and at nineteen worked as a nurse and lived with her aunt who introduced her to spiritualism. She married Thomas Gill in 1907 and had three children by him, one of whom died in infancy. Gill herself almost died while giving birth to a fourth, stillborn daughter in 1919, losing the sight in her left eye from the illness that followed. It was in that year, at the age of thirty-seven, that she began to create art in a flurry of drawing activity that was guided by a spirit she called Myrninerest. She often worked on paper or rolled calico, unrolling only a section at a time and not viewing the composition in its entirety. Her drawings, some of which reach lengths of thirty-five feet, include patterns and designs that obsessively cover the surface. The figure of a young woman dressed in flowing robes appears thousands of times in her work, and it is unclear if it is Gill?s spirit guide or perhaps her stillborn daughter. Gill exhibited her work rarely during her lifetime and never sold any of it for fear of angering Myrninerest.
Memory Palaces: Inside the Collection of Audrey B. Heckler, American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY
Madge Gill: Medium and Visionary, Orleans House Gallery, London
Accidental Genius: Art From the Anthony Petullo Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
The Museum of Everything, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin
British Outsider Art, Halle Saint-Pierre, Paris
Inner Worlds Outside, traveling exhibition, Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundacíon "La Caixa," Madrid; WhiteChapel Gallery, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Dubuffet & Art Brut, traveling exhibition, Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany; Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne; Museum of Modern Art Lille Metropole, Villeneuve-D'ascq, France
Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Musgrave Kinley Collection, Whitworth Gallery, Manchester
Cardinal, Roger, "Madge Gill: Postcards from the Spirit World," Raw Vision, No. 80, Winter 2013.
Stone, Lisa, ed., Accidental Genius: Art From the Anthony Petullo Collection, exhibition catalogue, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, 2012.
The Museum of Everything, exhibition catalogue, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli & Electa, Turin/Milan, 2010.
Lusardy, Martine, British Outsider Art, exhibition catalogue, Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, 2008.
Inner Worlds Outside, exhibition catalogue, Fundacíon "La Caixa," WhiteChapel Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art & Ediciones El Viso, Madrid, 2006.
Dubuffet & Art Brut, exhibition catalogue, 5 Continents & Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, 2005.
Cardinal, Roger et al., Art spirite, médiumnique et visionnaire, messages d'outre monde, Halle Saint-Pierre & Éditions Hoëbeke, 1999.
Cardinal, Roger, "The Art of Entrancement: European Mediumistic Art in the Outsider Domain," Raw Vision, No. 2, Winter 1989-90.
Thévoz, Michel, Art Brut, Rizzoli, New York, 1976.
Cardinal, Roger, L'Art Brut, Fascicule 9, Compagnie de l'Art Brut, Paris, 1973.