Alyssa Monks, whose psychologically-charged, figurative paintings have been exhibited in New York since 2006, is known for her bold, expressionistic portrayals of women as they experience the natural, contemporary world. Alyssa Monks’ TED talk (watch below) has been viewed more than a million times, her paintings have been presented throughout the United States and in Europe, and her work was featured in the television series, The Americans (FX) throughout its sixth and final season.
Her works are now on view through January 8, 2022 at Forum Gallery in the exhibition titled “It’s All Under Control.”
In the sixteen paintings on view, Alyssa Monks draws the viewer into the shifting, powerful emotions experienced during the past eighteen months when the wider world has suffered physical, emotional, and political disturbances unlike at any time in history. Compounding the complexity of the new works in the exhibition, from the smallest (12 x 18 inches) to the largest (62 x 90 inches), have been the acutely emotional, personal circumstances Monks has faced during this time, events that have combined to propel her to turn to herself as the subject of a body of work that endeavors to make sense of troubled times.
“At times, the recent global and national devastation, division, and so many disappointments felt like a surreal projection of my own mental states in the isolation of the last 18 months,” Monks said. “I began to explore the human reliance on control and predictability, and how our deepest suffering comes from our attachment to security, virtue, identity, and the logic of cause and effect. The glass barrier in these paintings between subject and viewer is clouded with vapor that obscures and abstracts the subject. This barrier underlines the personal and community-wide preoccupation with virus-laden respiratory droplets and the isolation it creates. Some works are more ambiguous than others, amplifying the state of disorientation in the face of terrifying unfamiliarity. Each piece has its own, often-layered, strategy, voice and urgent plea.
“One of the most painful truths in life is that there are difficult events and circumstances that we cannot control or influence. Perhaps in accepting our limitations, and the often life-altering grief that goes along with them, we can find a greater authenticity of being, a sense of empathy, and an understanding that we are not quite so isolated after all. The paintings in this series paradoxically reveal our shared human experience as they describe private moments of distress.”
Since receiving her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2001, Monks’ paintings have been the subject of numerous solo and group presentations including exhibitions at the Kunst Museum in Ahlen, Germany, The Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, GA, and the National Academy Museum of Fine Arts, New York. Her work is represented in public and private collections, including the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, The Center for Contemporary Art, and the collections of Howard Tullman, Danielle Steele and Eric Fischl. Monks has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for Painting three times.
“It’s All Under Control” is Alyssa Monks’ third one-person exhibition at Forum Gallery.
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