Forum Gallery presents a two-person exhibition of new and bold figurative works by Alyssa Monks (b. 1977) and Clio Newton (b. 1989) opening Thursday, January 18, 2024, and continuing through Saturday, March 9, 2024. The two women are among today’s most influential, internationally-recognized artists. While each has a unique approach to her art, both artists employ formidable technique to portray a thoroughly contemporary sensibility.
My new paintings in this exhibition confront the human experience of longing for that which is beyond our reach. Unbridled human vulnerability arises from the helpless awareness of being unable to control so much of what we try to. Flowers, branches, water droplets, and vapor - painted carefully in harmonizing color - speak to the ideals of femininity and beauty but also distort and overwhelm the portraits creating an elusive expression that is impossible to see fully and interpret.
We are left knitting bits of delicate illusionistic form together to catch a glimpse of these women, ensconced in their distancing efforts to control what you see, but also begging to be seen. We are in an endless loop, and only find ourselves in the end, also trying to make sense of a senseless experience, realizing that it is ultimately a futile pursuit. My aim is to inspire viewers to let go before they must let go in order to fully experience the surprisingly beautiful unpredictability of life.
This new work is a lot about desire. I look for moments of intimacy, peering over a shoulder, returning a locked gaze, where complex desire lives. The challenge is finding something real, in an expression or a gesture, that is completely specific to that individual or moment, but in its authenticity connects to something universally human.
Bodies are fascinating. Fragile and fleshy, intelligent, mysterious, frustrating, scary and magnetic. Beauty has no morality, which is why I’m suspicious of it. It beguiles and pulls you, but evades and breaks its promises.