DFN Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Alyssa Monks. These works continue her bather series, an update of the classic image of the bathing nude. Formerly done as self-portraits, Monks has added friends and family as subjects which are often shown through a distorting veil of steamy wet plastic or pebbled glass.
Tightly cropped compositions of faces and torsos force us as viewers into the bathers’ intimate realm only to be pushed back by the translucent barriers. These surfaces balance lavish, painterly strokes, and hyper-realistic illusion.The result is fragmented forms and obfuscated expressions. It is poignantly used to a Dorian Grayesque effect in Mom and Mosaic Mom. The enigmatic bathers in both Fragment and Hands seem to be suspended in acts of sacrament by their protective, yet suffocating aquatic cocoons, while the women of both Laugh andLaughing Girl burst forth, rejuvenated by the water’s cleansing power.
Long concerned with the layered meanings and metaphors evoked by this timeless subject, Monks wants us to identify with these subjects as real women:
“These women have come into their own and are engaging the viewer in a confident and unguarded way. They challenge the long tradition of women as the object of the male gaze, and further describe inhabiting a woman’s body and experiencing her resilience and vulnerability at the same time.”
Alyssa Monks received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art. She has trained with Vincent Desiderio, John Jacobsmeyer, and Deane Keller and received her BA, cum laude, from Boston College in 1999. The artist’s paintings have been exhibited nationally and can be found in many private collections. This is Monks’s third solo show at DFN Gallery.
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