American Art Collector - - Contents -

Janet Monafo writes, “There is no ex­plain­ing my se­lec­tion of ma­te­ri­als and com­po­si­tions ex­cept in vis­ual terms.” And there’s no need to.

The ev­ery­day ob­jects in her el­e­gant com­po­si­tions may have no re­la­tion­ship to one an­other. She says, “Most of the pic­tures that I have made over the years have been com­posed of com­plex as­sem­blages of things that I love look­ing at for one rea­son or an­other. Quite of­ten these things or ob­jects do not re­late to each other ex­cept within the con­text of the pic­ture by color, shape, tex­ture or form.”

At one point, weary of com­pos­ing the ob­jects, she dumped a num­ber on the floor to paint from dif­fer­ent an­gles—but she couldn’t re­sist tweak­ing the ar­range­ment to make a better com­po­si­tion and to better trans­late to a two-di­men­sional sur­face.

Her pas­tels will be shown at Le­wAllen Gal­leries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the exhibition Janet Monafo: Gath­er­ings. The exhibition continues through April 21.

Sedg­wick Skull is a com­po­si­tion in whites, a fre­quent oc­cur­rence in her work. Old friends from other paint­ings ap­pear—the oil­cans and porce­lain-enam­eled tin cups with the red or blue rims, Sty­ro­foam and pa­per take­out con­tain­ers, and the odd egg. What ap­pears to be a re­lent­lessly sym­met­ri­cal com­po­si­tion is ac­tu­ally as­sem­bled with a syn­co­pated rhythm that com­pels a longer look.

View­ing her work is no more static an ex­pe­ri­ence than hers in cre­at­ing it. She says, “The process of mak­ing a paint­ing can be sim­ple, com­plex, chal­leng­ing, anx­i­ety pro­vok­ing and, now and then, pleas­ing. Work­ing di­rectly from ob­ser­va­tion with nat­u­ral light from the north fac­ing win­dows in my stu­dio, I al­ways make a num­ber of draw­ings be­fore I de­cide to go ahead with a pastel paint­ing. The draw­ing, es­sen­tial to work­ing out the com­po­si­tion, is of­ten pri­mar­ily linear and for that rea­son do not give a real sense of the depth of form that will ma­te­ri­al­ize with the in­clu­sion of value and color in the paint­ing. This re­sults in a process which is not a static one, but one that evolves and can de­mand changes as the work pro­ceeds.”

Le­wAllen Gal­leries 1613 Paseo de Per­alta, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505) 988-3250 • www.lewal­len­gal­leries.com

1 Sedg­wick Skull, pastel on pa­per, 30 x 42" 2 Three Yel­low Roses, pastel on pa­per, 46 x 37" 3 Var­ie­gated Float, pastel on pa­per, 36½ x 49" 4 Still Life with Lemons, pastel on pa­per, 48 x 35"

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