Water & Womyn: The Art of Alyssa Monks


Alyssa Monks, Laughing Girl

Alyssa Monks, Laughing Girl (right), Monks’ show is currently up at DFN Gallery in NYC. Check out Flavorpill’s interview with Monks, and what they had to say about the show.  I love the simultaneous abstraction and detail of her work.  Her paintings feel alive – as if I’m watching a real moment in time that the artist has captured. I appreciated Monks determination to feature womyn in the way that she does. Monks reminds me of one of my favorite artists Artemesia Gentileschi , who also painted womyn with a loving, detailed and realistic eye – always managing to create lumniscent skin, while capturing powerful, sophisticated, and facial nuances.

 Monks often features womyn shown throught the filter of water or shower curtains. In her interview she talks about the challenge of rendering water on canvas and how it can disrupt the male gaze.  Kehinde Wiley  is another artists who disrupts the classical male gaze in his work. What interests me both about Wiley and Monks is that they fuse the modern with classical skill, building wittily on the artists that have come before them.

I’m particularly struck by the similarity between Gentileschi’s Danae and Monks Fragments, Monks seems to be having a conversation with Gentileschi and its so interesting to see how the works speak to each other across generations and nationality.


Danae by Artemesia Gentileschi

Fragment by Alyssa Monks

The most famous of Gentilieschi’s works is her representation of Judith, there’s a cool post about gender and the history of art here. Gentileschi, who was the daughter of a famous painter, under whom she trained, had a masterful understanding of light and shadow. I think this painting is amazing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: