After a long day of work, a long hot shower seems to be the only method of allowing my body to release the stress and built up energy that sustained me during the day. As water runs it begins to transform and create steam that travels in search of a surface; this new and temporal state filters our direct reflection. We can all relate to that moment where we stand in front of a steamed mirror and the inevitable glance to a surface that transforms what you know of yourself. The disconnection seems inconsequential, but why do we feel the need to validate our own mortality and wipe the mirror with a gentle stroke to reveal a common and familiar image? This dissonant relationship is what Alyssa Monks, a current Brooklynite, explores in her narrative figuration. Her work utilizes the natural filter [water] in its different states created by our shared pleasures and explores its tension with realism.
Utilizing photographs as loose reference, Alyssa Monks seems to enjoy understanding every drop of water and paint that goes into the linen. Her level of detail and artistic growth continues to show us a more vivid picture of human flesh and its tension with water. The passive filter possesses a powerful illusion that reshapes the image of the human body. The intimate image of this enclosed space evokes mystery, seduction, and a connection to what lies beyond this translucent material. It is only when the body interacts with this filter that we begin to see and feel the vignettes to the human body. It is through the interaction that we see the element transforming from gaseous to liquid, revealing the color of flesh, the flow of blood and the body reshaping.
Monks' work reminds us of the vitality of our own bodies and the beauty of life, evident as we confront the different states of H2O. The paintings demonstrate our own humaneness with extreme accuracy. The compelling connection to the image is experienced with authenticity and sensitivity. Her superb accuracy makes us look twice, as we feel we shouldn't be looking. It takes us to a private experience and allows us to explore and notice what we might have overlooked in our own bodies.
Alyssa Monks holds an MFA in painting from the NYAA // New York Academy of Art Graduate School of Figurative Art. Her work will be exhibited at the Kunst Museum Ahlen, Germany and at the Noyes Museum. She is planning a solo show in April 2010 at the DFN Gallery and the David Klein Gallery in October 2010. She is currently featured in the January 2010 American Art Collector Magazine.
Discover some more of her artworks through the pictures that follow //