Alyssa Monks: Finding Positivity in the Unknown

There is beauty in unpredictability. There are moments in our lives that are out of our control. These moments create space for us to think and reflect on ourselves, for us to reflect on our experiences and find positivity in what we once thought was negative.

They allow us to savor imperfections, lose control of our lives, and allow impurities to not drag us down, but to build deep intention and connection as vulnerable individuals. The unknown keeps us present, awake and alive.

Alyssa Monks blurs the line of realism and abstraction daring predictability.  The layers of semi-transparent paint create acute spaces and thick moments evocative of human experience.

Each stroke is intended to transfer the intimacy and vulnerability of human experience onto a permanent surface, and evoke an energetic and empathic experience of the painter, providing a glimpse into Monks’s life within each painting.

Monks started her career painting hyper-realistic portraits of individuals. Mistakenly, these paintings seem like photographs, but rather are highly detailed portraits of people. These paintings, while beautifully rendering each subject, chase perfection; they lack emotion and intimacy with the vulnerability of the unknown.

“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself,” Monks states, “I am exploring the possibility and potential where representational painting and abstraction meet – if both can coexist in the same moment.” 

Unpredictable and devastating moments in Monks’s life, the loss of her inspiration and creativity, the death of her mother, loosened her control on painting. She began to embrace imperfections and delve into impurities as factors that elicit emotion.

The photographic portraits became loose imitations of individuals in expansive spaces. Controlled, inconceivable brushstrokes became thick, gestural recordings of Monks’s emotions.

“My intention is to transfer intimacy and vulnerability of my human experience into a painted surface. I like mine to be as intimate as possible, each brush stroke like a fossil, recording every gesture and decision.”

We all have big losses, unpredictable moments, and experiences of the unknown. Each moment creates unequivocal fear of the next step. Some moments stop us in our tracks and break us down, some moments give us strength to grow as individuals.

Loss in Monks’s life, created a beauty in the imperfections. Transparent vulnerability in these paintings speak directly to human experiences that go beyond words, social context, beliefs and language, connecting directly to all individuals.

Monks’s painting express the truth of her experiences; the truth of “longing, fear, loss, heartache, love, grief, hope, calm, understanding, resolution…” which we all can understand and connect with.

All artwork copyright the artist. Learn more: Alyssa Monks.

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