The Ferryman: William Monk
Pace and GRIMM are pleased to present a three-venue exhibition of William Monk’s new paintings and works on paper across both of their spaces in New York and Pace’s East Hampton gallery. The exhibition at Pace’s 510 West 25th Street space and GRIMM’s 54 White Street gallery will run from April 29 to June 11, concurrent with Frieze New York. The East Hampton show will be on view from May 27 to June 5. This expansive presentation will mark Monk’s second exhibition in New York.
Monk is known for his atmospheric, vibrant paintings that feature mysterious and otherworldly forms. His semi- abstract paintings are deeply engaged with the rich tradition and history of the medium. The artist frequently creates works as part of a series, drawing on multifarious sources of inspiration connected to his own experience.
Like his other bodies of work, Monk’s new paintings evade easy categorization and interpretation. As the artist has said, “Only after the work is complete do I become aware of specific past experiences that helped to inform it—perhaps in the same way that a dream picks up on certain conscious moments and twists them.”
On the occasion of the exhibition, Pace Publishing and GRIMM will jointly produce a book featuring an essay by art historian and critic Suzanne Hudson and an interview with the artist conducted by poet John Yau.
GRIMM will present new paintings by Monk at its Tribeca gallery. Embodying the exhibition’s meditations on the afterlife, these icon-like paintings possess a meticulous attention to detail and invite an intimate, mantra-like, contemplative experience for the viewer. Depicting Monk’s invented Ferryman, or figure of death, these works radiate with energy. Part 1960s animation, courtesy of Beatles film animator George Dunning, and part Stanley Kubrick vision, Monk’s Rorschach-inspired works suggest a new sensorial field of contemporary painting. Across all the works in this presentation, Monk proposes a contemporary take on psychedelia and a re-enchantment of painting as a ritualistic, active medium.
Pace Gallery Exhibition
Pace’s presentation will spotlight three installations by Monk at its 510 West 25th Street space and a selection of works on paper and small oil paintings by the artist at its East Hampton gallery. This show will be Monk’s first solo exhibition at Pace’s New York gallery.
Engaged with notions of the afterlife, the large-scale paintings on view at the New York gallery focus on the journey from this life into the next.
Directed through the presentation by way of sight lines and narrative cues, visitors to 510 West 25th Street will embark on an experiential and cinematic journey within the gallery spaces. Groupings of paintings in the exhibition serve as transportive constellations, evoking shamanistic qualities in their content and display.
The presentation at Pace in New York will also feature a selection of new tondo paintings by Monk. Hanging suspended in a cloistered space within the gallery, these works reflect the spiritual undertones of the exhibition.
At Pace’s East Hampton space, Monk will showcase a group of works on paper that complement the paintings in his coinciding New York exhibitions, shedding light on another key aspect of his practice. This exhibition will also include a selection of small oil paintings by the artist, drawing further connections between his works on paper and canvas.
William Monk’s (b. 1977, Kingston upon Thames, UK) scenographic works tap into the rich tradition of painting. Monk paints enigmatic and vibrant canvases using starkly divisional compositions. The artist often works in extensive series that gradually evolve over time. His paintings carry irregular intensities of detail, line, foreground, and background.
A sense of repetition breaks down his figuration, creating visual mantras in which the human scale of the work increases this subtlety rather than amplifying the model. This rhythm can be traced throughout Monk’s work, surrendering figurative logic to arrive at something stranger and more powerful. Atmospheric and energetic, Monk’s paintings invite a more direct physical connection, drawing in the space between our inner and outer realms of experience.
William Monk lives and works in New York. He was awarded the Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst (Dutch Royal Award for Painting) in 2005 and the Jerwood Contemporary Painters award in 2009. Monk’s work has been exhibited at Pace Gallery, Hong Kong and London; Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen, Netherlands; Kunstmuseum, The Hague; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; GRIMM, New York and Amsterdam; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles; Norwich University, Norwich; PSL, Leeds; and Summerfield Gallery, Cheltenham, London. His work can be found in the collections of the Kunstmuseum, The Hague; HE Art Museum, Foshan, China; AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam; Roberts Institute of Art, London; Fries Museum, Leeuwarden; ING Art Collection, Amsterdam; Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, Manchester; and in many private collections.