August 3–September 30, 2006
Bonni Benrubi Gallery
Julie Monaco’s dramatic landscapes, ranging from black-and-white to a deeply saturated blood-red monotone, are as theatrical as they are polished, Presented under Plexiglas, these slick compositions unfold with an impressive savoir-faire for cinematographic effects and chiaroscuro that direct our gaze from crisp light to darker shadows, all with a looseness reminiscent of spilled India ink. As our eyes travel the breadth of forms and nuances of color, the question arises: what exactly are we looking at? Are they aerial photographs of seascapes, mountain ridges, hurricanes? They are all larger than life, beyond the reach of human documentation, like snapshots from the center of a deluge. It comes almost as a relief to learn from the press release that these images are thoroughly artificial.
However photographic it seems at first glance, Monaco’s work does not represent nature but employs it as an abstracted source of inspiration. In this context, nature is a concept nourished by the artist’s experiences and emotions, an ideal of maximal expression. Monaco constructs each work from scratch with computer software. It is astonishing that something as fluid, organic and emotional as Monaco’s work is based on programming code, a fact that she doesn’t attempt to conceal. As Monaco’s titles, such as “cs_02/4” suggest, these are digital clones that, if successful, take on the guise of reality but shine a bit brighter, make more noise, and lead us into spheres that are otherwise inaccessible. These works are not altered reflections of life; they are science fiction.
The vivid skies, deep waters, and rough edges, all overlaid by a signature omnipresent haze, convey the impression that we are observing something equally familiar and mysterious, something that is alien in its perfection. It’s refreshing to see contemporary art that’s sprung off computer science and engineering skills but does not stray far from the aspirations of many of the old masters: the landscape as a vessel for spiritual beliefs and the embodiment of a private sanctuary, shelter, or retreat.
Monaco was born in Vienna, where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990s before making her way to Los Angeles and focusing on computer animation. It is this balance between the nostalgic tastes of Vienna—home to creative melancholia and such eccentric minds as Schiele or Kokoschka—and Hollywood Surrealism that makes for such a potent art cocktail. For those wary of computer technology’s impact on art, Monaco’s work might prove an encouraging, if not eye-opening, experience.
from Blood RedBy Gabriela Ponce and Sarah Booker
NOV 2022 | Fiction
Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Ponces English language debut features an unnamed woman wrestling with the consequences of a failed marriage and an all consuming affair. Told in a stream of consciousness style that Book Culture describes as like putting Viriginia Woolf and Ottessa Moshfegh in a blender, Blood Red is a raw, visceral exploration of female bodily autonomy, power, and vulnerability.
Robert Motherwell: Blood-Stained PapersBy Susan Davidson
FEB 2023 | Critics Page
From the start of his art making practice, Robert Motherwell worked simultaneously across media, producing paintings, collages, and works on paper in near equal measure with a remarkable consistency of vocabulary. It was, however, his early engagement with paper rather than canvas where Motherwell found his confidence as an artist.
Blood BrothersBy Andrey Henkin
FEB 2023 | Music
When seven-string guitarist Álvaro Domene and alto saxophonist Álvaro Pérez met in Madrid, Spain in 2011, not only was the same level of passion and hunger for real, creative, and exploratory high-level collaborative music immediately evident, says Domene, having the same name, rather than being confusing, to us was kind of a strange cosmic coincidence because its not that common of a name.
Unnatural Nature: Post-Pop LandscapesBy Alfred Mac Adam
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
The human appetite for landscape paintings is apparently infinite, and this show of no fewer than twenty-eight artists in its New York version (there was a second edition in Palm Beach, which like this one was curated by Todd Bradway) emulates that infinity. How easy it would be to get lost in all these painted forests!