MADORE SHATTERS THE SPECTRUM
Michael Madore claims he began as a furtive artist, drawing in the seclusion of the woods, in the garage, or sometimes up in a tree. Family life was fractious and cacophonous for the young man, the eldest of seven, with hypersensitivities to both noise and smell. And his obsessive toe tapping, uncontrollable giggling and unintentional grimacing was known to drive his classroom teachers batty.
“It seemed I spent much of the sixth to eighth grade sitting in the principal’s or guidance counselor’s office,” he said in a recent telephone interview, for a constellation of behaviors that had no firm diagnosis. Madore lived through decades of draconian interventions, overmedication and psychiatric hospitalizations before a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome in 2000 began to lead him to a gradual understanding and awareness. In the interim his art-making continued, though it remained a largely stealth-like pursuit, incongruous with his working-class French Canadian background.
A fascination with cartography surfaced early, as he memorized and drew all the islands off British Columbia. A succession of similar pursuits dominated his childhood and would lead to paintings of increasingly imaginary worlds later on. They extended from the arboreal kingdom he created in the 1980s, inhabited by plant and animal life and aliens, to a posh garden club in the English countryside where the fictional Cedric Maunder, a snippy minutes secretary who’d be at home in a Beverley Nichols book, offered a running commentary on this quintessentially British institution.