Madison Bycroft: Separations Inc
by Jenna Pippett
It has been 11 years since the internet was gifted Liam Kyle Sullivan’s Shoes. Performed by Sullivan, Shoes depicts ‘Kelly’, a materialistic American teen, singing a spoof about shoe shopping. Layered with satire and curt, quotable one-liners, Sullivan parodies pop-culture and samples the absurd. Separations Inc. by Madison Bycroft plays off a similar pretence. Exhibited as part of Catdog at Greenaway Art Gallery/GAGprojects earlier this year, Separations Inc. features Bycroft as Coach Rayleen, channelling a Calisthenics instructor and offering stern advice through glitched slogans and imagery.
Bycroft’s graphics production is low-fi and suggests the style of community television. Like the format of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s pseudo cable-TV production, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Catdog is paradoxical. Through an arrangement of non-lineal edits facilitated by green-screen, Coach Rayleen and ‘her colleague’ exist in a parallel, in-between state. The fast-pace rhythm of the edits cut from seemingly real documentary footage to a digital stream of consciousness. Every fictional detail is essential and endorses the greater production. The viewer becomes hooked on Rayleen’s inner monologue and her catch phrases linger long beyond viewing.
No(se) stranger to a prosthetic, Bycroft speaks in the visual language of identity-satirists Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing. Employing a disguise, Rayleen’s colleague (portrayed by Bycrofts brother) is a female character presented with real facial hair. With deadpan concentration, Rayleen’s colleague lip-syncs to an apparent real interview with a Calisthenics coach. Bycroft’s characters are extreme-versions of themselves, presenting exaggerated accents and attitudes. The artist is totally committed to her characters and they fulfil our expectations and understanding of social stereotypes.
Bycroft has created a highly-constructed, illogical yet rigorous world that presents imagery through a post internet lens. Separations Inc. unlocks both the familiar and the absurd, creates a sensory overload that compels the viewer to consume this world whole and just like Rayleen, we’re left dreaming of new routines.