Monique Van Genderen
Vielmetter Los Angeles is pleased to present “Afterimages,” Monique van Genderen’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. Continuing her explorations in the field of abstraction and painting’s relation to spatial contexts, van Genderen’s latest project takes up the task of monumentally scaled horizontal paintings. The two thirty-five-foot-long paintings, entitled “A side” and “B side, are inherently related, yet slightly different, speaking to concepts of origination and genesis, one painting describing the other. Hanging on walls opposite each other they create a visual dialogue between abstract fields that are reflective in their compositions. Working simultaneously on the two large surfaces, van Genderen directed the painting through replication and repetition, references and shapes confirming each other into existence and culminating in a composition that is at once underwater and on the street.
Graphic brushstrokes and elements from the outside world create two epic poems, conjuring quasi-representational images. Conceived over the course of two and a half years the paintings took on various lives, weaving in and out of different historical references, for instance, a pink and red vertical element could be read as a citation of Rosenquist’s painting “Star Thief” which features large strips of bacon. These references are peppered throughout the composition and are similar to van Genderen’s suite of small paintings presented earlier this year “Each of These Paintings Can Be Named After a Famous Painter.”
These expansive landscape-oriented paintings plumb van Genderen’s examination of the material qualities of oil stick on raw canvas. Utilizing varying techniques, the pigments oscillate between opaque and translucent. The material constraints of working on raw canvas dictated the process with the oil sticks demanding a commitment to the gesture. Derived ad hoc, van Genderen’s mark-making became a multiplying organism, like an animal after its own tail the paintings exist within their own circular regeneration. Techniques within the detail of the paintings bring them into an intimate view breaking up their spectacle and creating a time loop of visual pleasure.
Four additional medium-sized vertical paintings expand on the visual phenomenon of an afterimage–like the visual illusion these paintings repeat segments of the thirty-five-foot painting’s composition. Simulating the effects of images that remain in your periphery, the forms begin to transition to memories. Titled “Snapshots,” they suggest a larger outside world beyond their surfaces and take the repetition to a level of obstinate confirmation in her choices.
In the lower area of the gallery are hung several larger paintings of van Genderen’s late muse, her beloved studio mate, and cat Lou. For several years van Genderen painted loosely representational watercolor paintings of Lou, describing the process as using the figure to practice the abstract elements of figuration. The larger paintings of Lou refer back to the watercolors and expand upon the humanity of her subject.
Monique van Genderen is based in Los Angeles and La Jolla. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1991. Van Genderen has had solo exhibitions at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Kunstverein Heilbronn, Heilbronn, Germany; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; Miles McEnery, New York, NY; D’Amelio Gallery, New York, NY; and Michael Janssen Gallery, Berlin. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions with the Kunstverien Rosa Luxembourg Platz, Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Los Angeles, CA; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and the 48th Corcoran Biennial in Washington, D.C. Her work is currently on view as part of the Murals of La Jolla in San Diego County, CA.