Kellyann Monaghan

I use landscapes, rural and urban landscapes as a journey and stage for the drama of light, air and movement. I attempt to see past the structured architecture into the otherworldly qualities of the landscape. I am intrigued by the way light plays on architecture, energizing and describing form. There is a mystery in the dynamics of light and atmosphere in contrast to the architectural structures.

My most recent landscape work has also taken a new turn and delving into the effects of weather change on the landscape. Discussion and news coverage of the changes of weather is something that permeates our current day-to-day existence. The stormy weather and extreme weather conditions permeating the natural landscape has become a new trajectory in my painting. The surface of the landscape paintings erupts with textured and expressive gestural marks, which are depictions of the radical weather events. The weather is instinctive inspiration for my tendencies as an alla prima painter.

There is emptiness and solitude in the spaces I paint; yet they have a quality of human presence through the atmosphere and illumination. During many years, I have been obsessed with the rooftops of cluttered Brooklyn and New York City spaces, where the architecture is piled and pushing upon each other. Currently the repeating forms of the satellite dishes and antennae that dominate many apartment rooftops are central to the visual rhythm in my paintings. Construction cranes and scaffolding also play a role in creating the rhythmic urban spaces. I have exaggerated and edited qualities from city life into dramatic compositions. The sky and the spaces between buildings are as significant as the buildings themselves. I am fascinated by the city’s night sky, which reflects the ever-present human interjection of light pollution.

In Southern France, I also paint from the to the lush landscape, old and decaying buildings and by contrast, the modernized forms and structures of contemporary life. I painted primarily on site and in the open air. The small medieval villages and ancient farms inspired many paintings. In these works I depicted lush landscapes, claustrophobic village streets and dilapidated farms. There is a quirky relationship between the village tiled rooftops and the gritty ones of my Brooklyn spaces. Even in this beautiful and historic place there are television satellite dishes sprouting about.

My aim is to maintain an element of spontaneity and directness in the paint. A fluid and spontaneous quality in the every paint stroke is very important to me. I primarily work all prima and often plein air. I edit, emphasize and exaggerate structural forms from life observation. The process allows for idiosyncratic and unexpected painterly qualities to occur.

The nuances of light, atmosphere, weather and architecture generate a constant awe, nostalgia and surprise. At times the awe is when you are hoping to see it and other moments it is a surprise in unexpected places. The painting process is not just an analytical process for me, but is a revelation in every visual moment.