In Furthur Planetarium! Monk shows a selection of large oil paintings together with woodcuts and watercolors made during the last two years. The word ‘furthur’, including its misspelling, comes from the name of the bus the author and 60’s trailblazer Ken Kesey took across America during the early 1960’s. In the paintings Fur¬thur! and Furthur!! Monk’s cinematic road trip heads off under the massive form of a cloud; natural, man made or speech bubble. Though Monk’s paintings are figurative in source his principal interest lies in the physical presence of his paintings as object and the viewer’s experience within the space between them and the painting.
“Digital images are becoming the de-facto way we perceive and process the world – surface, and superficial virtuosity as self-defining, momentary meaning. This creates a prob¬lem: how to ensure that physical painting is experienced as a very different form of engagement, and their framing as more than the inferred edges of an iMac screen. Although I have taken from the digital world, it is to confront this imagery with physical, organic paintings.”
Such is the case with Far-out I, II and III, an installation of paintings showing Earth’s environment, atmosphere and alignment to the stars, the curvature of the blue sky and black void enveloping the viewer in an immersive environment. Similarly, in Paravent and Paravent (La Honda) Monk creates not a description of a forest but painterly equivalents. Cropped just short of the forest floor and hung low on the gallery walls these paintings invite the viewer in as participant. The painting Furthur Planetarium! presents the viewer with an ambiguous per¬spective of Earth, the Universe and its repeating shapes, patterns and fractals that appear throughout our world and beyond. Monk’s childhood spent constructing Airfix kits plays itself out here in the form of various insignia of World War One aircraft dotted across the surface of the painting like satellites or stars. Biography appears again in a self-portrait the artist made after an MRI scan fol¬lowing short periods of perceptual psychedelic disturbance.
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