Brendan Monroe – Observations of Light and Matter

by Nathan SpoorPosted on

Oakland, CA based artist Brendan Monroe continues his visual research with a new body of work. These new works were gleaned from ideas he has been experimenting with over the last year, leaning towards physics and astronomy to stimulate his influences. His current works, a combination of paintings and sculptures, are currently on view at Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto, Ontario.

Hello Brendan, we’re very curious to hear about your new work. How did you come to this grouping of new works? 

It’s really a bunch of ideas that came together over the course of a year or so. I work on a lot of different things at once, so this group of work really started with some experiments at the beginning of last year. 

Did the fact that this is your first exhibit with this gallery in Toronto have any bearing on the work you would produce for this show?

I don’t think it was so much that, but more that it was a new space that I had never worked with. It was the largest space I’ve worked for that I had not been to in person before hand. The result was I just made a lot of work that could be more or less re-ordered in a space to make a show, rather than making more space-specific work.

Is this body of work a series, a collection of new paintings and sculptures? That is, is this a group of work unto itself or an extension of previous concepts or ideas you glean from?

My ideas have always been influenced by science in one way or another. This group is leaning much more towards physics and astronomy. I want to continue with this kind of work for a little while, but in the future I may base the work off another branch of science as well. I think I’ve gravitated toward physics recently because of so much of the interesting work that has been done in the field in the last couple years. As a body of work, it is both different and part of the same as previous works. 

What do you think was the biggest inspiration in creating these pieces?

It’s physics mixed a bit with a drifting dream sensation, then the feeling of a solitary explorative journey.

How heavily do you rely on preparatory ideas or sketches before you begin a piece?

I tend to do a fairly quick compositional sketch then just go directly to the painting or sculpture. Sometimes, with sculpture I do a few sketches at different angles. I don’t think I rely very heavily on the prep. I feel out the work a lot more as I go along.

Besides creating artwork, what else do you do with your time personally and professionally?

I like to do all kinds of stuff. I usually get caught up in house projects, like making shelves or something. I like gardening a lot, cooking and baking too.

How personal or reflective of yourself do you find your artwork being or becoming as you paint or draw or sculpt?

I think moderately to very personal. I like to take myself out of the picture and try and keep my figures a little more on the anonymous side. This leaves them ready to place myself in there or, my hope is, that someone else viewing the piece can also find a part of themselves to place in the work.

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