Kellyann Monaghan

I use landscapes as a stage for the drama of light, air and movement. I attempt to see past the structured spaces and journey into the otherworldly qualities of the landscape. I am intrigued by the way light plays on natural forms, energizing and illuminating both stability and turbulence. There is a mystery in the dynamics of light and atmosphere in contrast to the solid landscape planes.

I have primarily painted the landscape from observation and perceptually. For many years I have been obsessed with the rooftops of cluttered Brooklyn and New York City spaces, where the architectural forms are piled upon each other. The repeating water towers, satellite dishes and antennae that dominate many apartment rooftops are central to the visual rhythm in my urban paintings. The sky and the spaces between buildings are as significant as the buildings themselves. In recent years I had opportunities to paint on-site in southern France, Ireland and New Mexico, experiences which have broadened my palette and introduced the varied forms of the idiosyncratic landscape of different locales.

The stormy weather and powerful climate conditions permeating the contemporary landscape as a result of climate change have inspired the most recent 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. These recent paintings emerge from photoshopped video stills or news footage imagery. I find unexpected beauty out of the destructive qualities of the weather. The weather is an instinctive inspiration for my tendencies as an “alla prima” painter while also illustrating the impact of changing environmental conditions upon the world we live in.

I aim to maintain an element of spontaneity and directness in the paint and print. A fluid and spontaneous quality in every paint stroke is very important to me. I primarily work all prima both in painting and in the monotype printmaking process. I edit, emphasize and exaggerate structural and organic forms. In the monotype process, I utilize the subtractive approach where each mark reveals light, form and texture. The process allows for idiosyncratic and unexpected painterly qualities to occur.

The nuances of light, atmosphere and weather inspire a continuous feeling of awe, sometimes accompanied by fear and surprise. At times awe results from hopeful expectations realized, such as in the lyric beauty of a rolling wheat field, while at other moments one is overwhelmed by the surprising beauty of nature’s destructive power. The painting process is not just an analytical process for me but a sublime revelation in every visual moment.