Paintings

Grimm Fine Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of 12 new paintings by English artist William Monk that will run from the 24th of May through the 12h of July 2008.

At barely 30 years of age, William Monk (1977, Kingston upon Thames) can already be counted among the most intriguing visual artists trained in the Netherlands. Upon finishing his two-years residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, this young self-taught English painter with a background in filmmaking was given a solo show at the Fries Museum under the suggestive heading William Monk: How to stop whining and start living and received invitations to participate in several group exhibitions across the Netherlands, among others at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. These successive invitations followed his early success when in 2005 he won the Dutch Royal Award for painting.

Since he started painting, William Monk has created several series of large-scale canvases covering a variety of subject matters. Over the last few years, he has incorporated a wide range of images –cockpits, aerial views together with buildings and mysterious scenes set against contrasting backgrounds such as an industrial zone or a glade—that constitute the body of his steadily expanding oeuvre. Rather than presenting a straightforward continuity in terms of what they depict, his paintings all share a highly recognizable style, which has become his hallmark. Monk practices painting as if it were embroidery –you might say that he weaves the paint material rather than merely applying it or giving painterly substance to an overall composition that has been devised or sketched beforehand. His works expand in space as if they were the uncontrolled growth of an autonomous and alien body –hence his reference to science fiction films. In the exclusive interview he gave to Dominic van de Boogerd published in his new exhibition catalogue available at the gallery, he states “I am a big fan of the novelDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. The author talks about this thing called ‘kipple’. It refers to junk that reproduces itself […] I just thought this was kind of a description of painting in a way.” Whatever the association might be –with craft or sci-fi culture—Monk’s paintings have the overall organic appearance generated by a practice focused on details and their progressive accumulation. This characteristic feature combined with Monk’s color palette and preference for formats, which constitute embodiments of the very idea of fragmentation –diptychs, triptychs and multi-paneled paintings consisting of up to five canvases—link his practice to that of the still underrated late nineteenth-century group of Post-Impressionist artists, Les Nabis.

In his new series of works, which include diptychs, triptychs and multi-paneled canvases, Monk resolutely opts for an aesthetic language of pure colors and forms created around a consistent search for subtly contrasted shades of blue patterned along the lines of a process of natural accretion. More than ever, his new endeavor has a distinct decorative appearance, which stimulates the mind’s desire to find hidden meanings and which hints at a world of pure transcendence.