Kent Monkman, “Cain and Abel,” 2017, acrylic

If you did not have a chance to see the outstanding new works by Kent Monkman this spring in New York City, a new opportunity waits in Santa Fe. Will you rendezvous with him?

Peters Projects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 7 opened “The Rendezvous” — a solo exhibition of new works by talented painter Kent Monkman. On view through September 2, “these works are inspired by an actual time in the history of North America,” the gallery writes, “during which spring gatherings in the wilderness areas of the early to mid-nineteenth century Rocky Mountains was a period of utopia and non-violence.

Kent Monkman, “Wedding at Sodom,” 2017, acrylic
Kent Monkman, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” 2017, acrylic

“Beyond the frontier of European settlement, indigenous nations, mountain men and trappers assembled to trade goods for furs, and enjoy some revelry. These were often wild and boisterous events lasting for weeks that followed many months of isolation and deprivation during the winter. The revelers mated, fought, gambled, danced, drank to excess, and competed in various athletic competitions and games. Monkman is inspired by the style of nineteenth century western artist Alfred Jacob Miller, who attended one of these events and made drawings and paintings to document what he described as a saturnalia.”

Kent Monkman, “A Child Is Born,” 2017, acrylic
Kent Monkman, “Wild Flowers of North America,” 2017, acrylic

Heavily populated with several figures in diverse costumes, Monkman’s paintings read like a well-composed onstage performance. Saturated color and strong light also aid in the sense of drama and activity in the pictures. Continuing, the gallery says, “This series of paintings features dynamic scenes of indigenous peoples, mountain men, and trappers in various scenes of revelry and interaction. The compositions draw inspiration from classical paintings such as bacchanal scenes and lamentation scenes, but gender and sexual identities are deliberately ambiguous to complicate the expected reading of this historical subject matter. As the world struggles to come to terms with new transgender identities and gender variations, the artist uses the allegory of the freedom of the American frontier to situate transgender and gender nonconformity at the edge of societal norms.”

To learn more, visit Peters Projects.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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