There is a magical simplicity about Brookyn based painter Alyssa Monk’s oil portraits, where looking at her work is like looking into the reflection of a forest pool. Her images portray ghostly figures that take form at the surface, inbetween the reflection of other natural elements like tree branches and the sun shining peeking through their foliage. Her lush depictions are often described as a blend of the figurative and landscape.
“My intention is to transfer the 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,” she says. Monk’s work first caught our attention in 2011, when her work began to involve obscuring of the human face and body using water, oil and other elements as filters. Monk explains that she had always been drawn to water since she was a child, known to venture into the pool unsupervised on more than a few occasions.
After years of painting figures behind steam covered glass and water, she ventured outside to paint something different: Her new paintings combine elements of portraiture and nature which she explains as single-figure examinations of human emotions: “We all have our vulnerability,” she explains,”these painting do show a certain kind of protecting that vulnerability. The new work, I think, is more transparent about that vulnerability. There is more of an uninhibited expression of longing, fear, heartache, love, grief, hope, calm, understanding, resolution.” She will debut in a series of thirteen new paintings at Forum Gallery in New York on March 24th.