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Film Still

Film Still, "Middleman: The Imperfect is Our Paradise," feature length, coming 2021

The Angel of Death close up

March - December 2019 deflated helium birthday balloon, cadmium yellow pigment, pantyhose, tobacco, aluminum screen, clothes hangers, yarn, black wrap, clear plastic, to-do lists, Nikki's yarn, Ga's thread, Grandmas thread, store-bought thread, helmet liner

Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017

Vessel Draining II

14 X 10 inches, dry pastel on paper, 2015

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About Madeline

Baltimore City

Madeline Becker's picture
Madeline Becker is a multimedia artist and independent filmmaker. Fascinated by light, Madeline loves exploring the power and possibilities of light by working with it as a material in her sculpture and as a lighting technician in film and television. A fellow in the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Madeline received funding to complete her feature directorial debut, “Middleman” (2021) which explores the connections between artist, place, and the... more

Middleman: The Imperfect is Our Paradise

Middleman: The Imperfect is Our Paradise, is a self-reflective journey through the City of Baltimore seen through the life and paintings of contemporary artist Raoul Middleman.

As Baltimore's industrial harbor is transformed into luxury apartments and tourist attractions, 84 year-old artist Raoul Middleman continues to paint the city that shaped him and the people who surround him. Driven by a love of burlesque and Baltimore's working harbor, his paintings record a history of Baltimore that is now being re-developed and re-branded. With the help of interns and assistants, Middleman works to archive and sell some 10,000 paintings stored in his warehouse-studio in East Baltimore. Filmed through the lens of an artist 60 years younger, two different generations meet in the present to unpack the sea of time and change that lay between them.

In November 2017, Middleman was awarded a Production Grant from the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film & Media Studies at Johns Hopkins. The film will premiere in 2021.

https://www.middleman-film.com/

  • Film Still

    Film Still, "Middleman: The Imperfect is Our Paradise," feature length, coming 2021
  • Film Still

    Raoul Middleman with historian Alvin Stone at the Pimlico Race Course in 2017. They talk about their experiences growing up around the track, Raoul's seven murals located on the second floor, and the fate of the track. During the upcoming 2020 Maryland legislative session, the future of Pimlico and the Preakness will be fiercely fought. The fate of the Park Heights neighborhood lies in the balance, at risk of being displaced after years of being institutionally ignored and damaged by the drop in property values that followed white flight in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Film Still

    Raoul paints a long-time model and friend Madi. Questions of the male gaze, sexuality, and beauty run through the entire film.
  • Film Still

    This is the second floor of Raoul's warehouse-studio in East Baltimore. Paintings lie on the floor unstretched dating as far back as the 1960s.
  • Film Still

    Raoul visits Lexington Market to buy fish for a painting. He has been buying fish and produce from Lexington Market for some 40 years to paint. The Lexington Market is in the midst of a major redevelopment by Seawall, a firm who re-develops historical sites and is at times synonomous with gentrification. This scene captures the beauty of the current historical market and people who work and shop there, as Raoul is only one of many.
  • Film Still

    Raoul works with an assistant, Lillian, to stretch up old paintings, photograph them, enter them into the computer archives, and then store them below in the racks. It is extremely difficult to sell paintings and make a living as an artist alone, and over the years the work piles up in storage. Raoul has over 10,000 paintings, some as large as 20 X 30 feet, most never seen by the public. What will happen to these paintings?
  • Film Still

    Looking directly into the camera, Raoul paints the audience. In actuality, he is painting me, the director, as I film him. Painting and film share an ability to serve as a mirror that can reflect humanity back upon itself.
  • Film Still

    A close-up from Raoul's paint-caked studio.
  • Film Still

    "They are building a whole new city in Baltimore, it's built on poison." Al Engleman, Raoul's close friend, African Art collector, and Holocaust survivor, talks about the importance of Raoul's work in capturing the history of Baltimore. This scene takes place along the waterfront in Port Covington looking at the Hanover Street Bridge. Port Covington is in the midst of being redeveloped by Sagamore Development, a private real estate firm owned by billionaire Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. The Sagamore family has deep ties to horse racing with Sagamore Farm.
  • Film Still

    Throughout the film, images of landscapes from along the waterfront provide moments of reflection. This particular still is from a junk yard in Curtis Bay, one of Raoul's painting grounds. A deep puddle of antifreeze stands next to piles of junk and old refrigerators.

In Search of Cut Roots

This is an in-progress series. I am currently working out the story, letting the characters set the tone and guide the story as they develop. These five characters are the first ones to be completed. Full body masks, makeup, and more are in the works. Once completed, I will collaborate with dancers and performers to bring the piece to life.

  • Screen Test I "Pursuit of Happiness" aka "Smiley"

    January 2019 - present This character is "Pursuit of Happiness" but you can call her "Smiley." Those who know her best only whisper her true name, "Angel of Death." Materials: deflated helium birthday balloon, cadmium yellow pigment, pantyhose, tobacco, aluminum screen, clothes hangers, yarn, black wrap, clear plastic, to-do lists, Nikki's yarn, Ga's thread, Grandmas thread, store-bought thread, helmet liner
  • A Docile Creature

    January 2019 - April 2019 Construction paper, tobacco, pantyhose, beer foil, cotton ball bag plastic, grandma's thread, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • A Docile Creature close up

    January 2019 - April 2019 Construction paper, tobacco, pantyhose, beer foil, cotton ball bag plastic, grandma's thread, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • The Jester

    November 2019 - December 2019 Spoon, plastic form, soap wrapper, Reese's wraper, salad dressing seal, plastic bags, hangers, fabric, cotton ball plastic bag, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • The Jester close up

    November 2019 - December 2019 Spoon, plastic form, soap wrapper, Reese's wraper, salad dressing seal, plastic bags, hangers, fabric, cotton ball plastic bag, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • Fading Spirit

    February - December 2019 Amazon packaging, long johns packaging, former oil painting, broken Italian fan, bubble wrap, black wrap, clothes hanger, magazines, plastic wrappers, Grandma's thread, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • Fading Spirit profile

    February - December 2019 Amazon packaging, long johns packaging, former oil painting, broken Italian fan, bubble wrap, black wrap, clothes hanger, magazines, plastic wrappers, Grandma's thread, store bought thread, Grammy's thread, Ga's thread, Marge's thread
  • The Angel of Death

    March - December 2019 Still tweaking this mask and making a full body suit for her. deflated helium birthday balloon, cadmium yellow pigment, pantyhose, tobacco, aluminum screen, clothes hangers, yarn, black wrap, clear plastic, to-do lists, Nikki's yarn, Ga's thread, Grandmas thread, store-bought thread, helmet liner
  • The Angel of Death close up

    March - December 2019 deflated helium birthday balloon, cadmium yellow pigment, pantyhose, tobacco, aluminum screen, clothes hangers, yarn, black wrap, clear plastic, to-do lists, Nikki's yarn, Ga's thread, Grandmas thread, store-bought thread, helmet liner

Promise Land

"Promise Land" is a collaboration with artists at Make Studio. Make Studio is a studio and work space for artists with disabilities in Baltimore, Maryland. The result of the collaboration is a piece that is far more joyful, energetic, and lively than anything I could have made alone. One of the artist's wrote "Promise Land" on one of the colorful gels he was shaping, thus giving the piece its name.

View Make Studio here: http://www.make-studio.org/home.html

  • Promise Land

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Night Detail

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017
  • Promise Land Night

    119 X 273 X 33 inches, lighting gels, light, fabric, drum heads, sharpie, thread, 2017

Weaving Ourselves Out

In "Weaving Ourselves Out," which takes on a fence-like form, braided strips of aluminum are sewn together to weave a crumbling tapestry. Braiding and weaving are repetitive processes that are used in all cultures, from hair, to rope, to blankets for warmth. A gradient of cut, ripped, and manipulated pantyhose blocks certain openings in the braided aluminum. The fragility of materials renders the chainlink-like fence useless as a barrier.

  • Weaving Ourselves Out

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017
  • Weaving Ourselves Out Detail

    156 X 204 X 9 inches, aluminum, light, pantyhose, fabric, thread, pigment, monofilament line, galvanized wire, 2016-2017

Walls / Portals

Societal and cultural walls draw invisible boundaries between people. As of January 2019, the term “Border Wall,” has been the subject of debate and policy as the United States makes a pivot back towards isolationism. These boundaries dehumanize us. I am interested in making objects that divide and re-shape the space they occupy. These structures are ruins of what was once a boundary. Cut holes, perforations, and large gaps negate the wall and provide windows to the other side.

The history and cultural meaning of materials inspires me. Advertisements bombard us - urging consumption - making shopping a culture of its own.

"The Burghers of Baltimore" draws inspiration from high rises and skin. It takes its name from Auguste Rodin's “Burghers of Calais” and its form from women's bodies. A burgher is defined in many ways, most prominently as a member of the middle class - a prosperous solid citizen. A burgher can also be a member of the wealthy bourgeoisie. Language like “contribution” or “useful” is used in society to denote someone’s value. To “contribute” usually means to have a job, a bank account, to pay taxes, own property, own a car. Those who don’t contribute in these ways are discounted, to the detriment of us all.

  • The Burghers of Baltimore

    81 X 99 X 10 inches, paper, pigment, fabric, magazines, silicone, bubble wrap, lingerie, thread, light, 2016
  • The Burghers of Baltimore Detail

    81 X 99 X 10 inches, paper, pigment, fabric, magazines, silicone, bubble wrap, lingerie, thread, light, 2016
  • The Burghers of Baltimore Detail

    81 X 99 X 10 inches, paper, pigment, fabric, magazines, silicone, bubble wrap, lingerie, thread, light, 2016
  • The Burghers of Baltimore Opposite Side

    81 X 99 X 10 inches, paper, pigment, fabric, magazines, silicone, bubble wrap, lingerie, thread, light, 2016
  • The Burghers of Baltimore Opposite Side Detail

    81 X 99 X 10 inches, paper, pigment, fabric, magazines, silicone, bubble wrap, lingerie, thread, light, 2016
  • Bombardment

    62 X 192 X 5 inches, light, paper, thread, pigment, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, thread, plastic, and tracing paper, 2014-2015
  • Bombardment Detail

    62 X 192 X 5 inches, light, paper, thread, pigment, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, thread, plastic, and tracing paper, 2014-2015
  • Bombardment Opposite Side

    62 X 192 X 5 inches, light, paper, thread, pigment, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, thread, plastic, and tracing paper, 2014-2015
  • Bombardment Opposite Side

    62 X 192 X 5 inches, light, paper, thread, pigment, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, thread, plastic, and tracing paper, 2014-2015
  • Bombardment Opposite Side Detail

    62 X 192 X 5 inches, light, paper, thread, pigment, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, thread, plastic, and tracing paper, 2014-2015

Adornments

Collected over the course of a year, the cotton balls, q-tips, and makeup triangles were all used during my daily routine of "putting my face on" in the morning and then taking it off. Aware of their throw-away nature, I saved some of the materials from the waste-basket and made a series of self-portraits.

Pantyhose were once an unspoken requirement for women to wear. Now unnecessary, they are a choice women have and a relic of more rigid times past. Similar to makeup foundation, pantyhose are produced in a variation of skin tone shades from “nude” (light creamy beige color) to “suntan” to “coffee” to “jet black.” The names given to pantyhose illustrate how mainstream consumer language is skewed in favor of caucasian consumers’ needs. This creates a subtle mainstream language that establishes white as the primary expectation while othering people of color. It’s a language of passive destruction, a language that damages internally.

  • Hide

    2016 54 X 38 X 10 inches Pantyhose, thread, nails, pencil
  • Hide Detail

    2016 54 X 38 X 10 inches Pantyhose, thread, nails, pencil
  • Skin Deep Variation I

    Fall 2014 Make up applicators, make up from daily use, cotton balls, astringent, q-tips, false eyelashes, and clear push pins 24 X 12 inches
  • Skin Deep Variation II

    2014 - 2015 57 X 7 inches Cosmetic makeup applicators, Sand Beige makeup from daily use, needles, thread, tacks, and wire
  • Skin Deep Detail

    2014 - 2015 57 X 7 inches Cosmetic makeup applicators, Sand Beige makeup from daily use, needles, thread, tacks, and wire
  • Skin Deep Variation III

    2015 13 X 14 inches Cosmetic makeup applicators, Sand Beige makeup from daily use, needles, thread, aluminum screen, q-tips, cotton balls, and astringint
  • Skin Deep Variation III Detail

    2015 13 X 14 inches Cosmetic makeup applicators, Sand Beige makeup from daily use, needles, thread, aluminum screen, q-tips, cotton balls, and astringint

Exit Wounds

We live in a segregated society. In 2019, our country is the least segregated it has been... ever, but is still nowhere near equal and fair. "Reconstruction," "Fault Lines," "Split," and "Fission," all deal with that separation. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved from a suburban public school to a city public school in seventh grade. In ninth grade a fight broke out in Algebra class after a white student coaxed a black student into a fight, using racial slurs. The security guard was thrown into a glass cabinet as she broke the fight up, the white kid ran off into the neighborhood, never coming back, and the black student changed schools the following school year. In general, friends came and went from the school. Nothing made sense. And no adults were contextualizing our environment, or even acknowledging the multitude of social situations its student population was faced with.

It took years (still taking) for me to find language and unpack the racial relations of my upbringing as well as in present life. There still isn't verbal language, as words can cross themselves. But with this series, (and most of my work,) I was working through that history with the materials themselves - color, torn and cut paper, staples, plaster, paint, string, detritus from my studio. "Split" was more of an unconscious piece, while "Fault Lines" began with the intention of using highways and their destructive history to African American neighborhoods as the basis of its form. "Fission" came from watching atomic bomb footage in slow motion, a kind of mesmerizing cycle of destruction. "Reconstruction" was an attempt to make a piece empty of content, like a projector projecting only light. Unhappy with the piece, that blank projection screen was torn apart and stapled back together. The outcome was almost identical, this time held together with office staples and new layers - the light and dark separated, on the verge of tearing apart again.

  • Reconstruction

    2014 49 X 55 in. Oil on paper, magazines, cardboard, plaster, and staples
  • Reconstruction Detail

    2014 49 X 55 in. Oil on paper, magazines, cardboard, plaster, and staples
  • Fault Lines

    2015-2016 64 X 60 X 6 inches Oil paint on paper, pigment, magazine cut outs, screen, silicone, monofilament line, dust, debris, matte medium, staples, and wire
  • Fault Lines Detail

    2015-2016 64 X 60 X 6 inches Oil paint on paper, pigment, magazine cut outs, screen, silicone, monofilament line, dust, debris, matte medium, staples, and wire
  • Fault Lines Detail

    2015-2016 64 X 60 X 6 inches Oil paint on paper, pigment, magazine cut outs, screen, silicone, monofilament line, dust, debris, matte medium, staples, and wire
  • Split

    2014 62 in. X 59 in. Oil paint, sweepings from floor, and monofilament line, wood, tissue paper, magazines, and feathers on canvas Hangs on a wooden dowel.
  • Split Detail

    2014 62 in. X 59 in. Oil paint, sweepings from floor, and monofilament line, wood, tissue paper, magazines, and feathers on canvas Hangs on a wooden dowel.
  • Fission

    2013-2014 Oil paint, staples, and paper 40 X 140 inches Fission is defined in the Meriam Webster Dictionary as the splitting of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of large amounts of energy. In nuclear physics, nuclear fission is either a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay process.
  • Fission Detail

    2013-2014 Oil paint, staples, and paper 40 X 140 inches
  • Fission Detail

    2013-2014 Oil paint, staples, and paper 40 X 140 inches

Vessels of Broken Dreams

The drawings in the “Vessels of Broken Dreams” series are drawn from a deteriorating plaster bust cast for the actress who portrays the celestial beings in the project "A Troubled Mind."
Our bodies contain our spirits, our souls, they are vessels. When the spirit has left them, what remains?

Memento Mori

Drawing inspiration from the Memento Mori and Vanitas paintings of the seventeenth century, the subject is a vase of cut flowers. Images from the Boston Marathon Bombing and a vase of dead and drying flowers are exposed on top of one another again and again to form a shifting stained glass image.

Connect with Madeline

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Madeline's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.