Simon Monk (b.1966)
After graduating in Fine Art from Camberwell in 1989 I lectured in Art History at various colleges in and around London, as well as writing on art and architecture. Since returning to painting five years ago I have exhibited in open exhibitions such as the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Discerning Eye as well as various group shows and international art fairs. I have recently been selected to exhibit in East Wing Ten at the Courtauld Institute. I now work full time in my studio in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
My recent paintings of objects in bags initially arose from an interest in scale and representation; despite being depicted exactly life size, the subjects themselves present a dislocation of scale characteristic of toys and models, ranging from enlarged insects to radically miniaturised dinosaurs. The paintings themselves are on a domestic scale; they represent illusory objects on a fictional wall and are designed to inhabit a real wall in a domestic environment.
The subjects are bagged and centrally placed on a pegboard or tongue and groove background in an attempt to raise questions about the context in which they are depicted: are they presented for sale; for anthropological perusal; do they offer a glimpse of the odd taxonomies of an unknown collector or the prized booty of an eccentric shopper?
Despite the bag paintings constituting the core of my recent practice, other series of paintings are informed by a consistent but evolving set of interests and concerns: the use of ephemera and overlooked objects; the exploration of illusion and the inescapably fictional nature of images; the uneasy relationship between the exotic and the banal; whether it is possible to view the past without nostalgia.
Each painting is slowly and gradually built up from many thin, translucent layers of paint over a number of months. The subjects are painted directly from life rather than photographs in an attempt to represent the subjects with simple clarity and truthful illusion.