Elizabeth Monks Hack Featured Artist at Lompoc Gallery
“I find joy in the act of creation and a certain happiness when the result answers a question, fulfills a need, results in a clear visual response to my imagination. Calm scenes taken from the flow of contemporary life have been central to my work,” said Elizabeth Monks Hack, whose art is featured in “Piecework: An Exhibition of Patchwork Paintings” which is on view through September 25 at the Cypress Gallery, 119 E. Cypress Ave. in Lompoc.
A reception for the artist will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
His work consists of oil and mixed media on stitched canvas, a new direction for the artist. Ms. Monks Hack often incorporates abstract geometries into her compositions, emphasizing edges and other linear elements.
“When I sew then stretch the fabrics, the edges are shifted, an effect that I seek. So if the lines are crooked, that’s why,” she said.
In ‘Piecework’ the artist has gone a step further by stitching pieces of canvas together to initiate the conversation of the works.
“The ‘patchwork paintings’ are a natural extension of my concern with geometry and creating patterns, the picture plane and the edges of things I see. I like to think of my brush as a wand with which I animate objects, like a magician. The art of transforming a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional world continues to be somewhat miraculous for me,” said Ms. Monks Hack, a contemporary realist painter with “an intense passion for all manifestations of art and culture. “.
She worked as an art educator, fashion designer, cartoonist and children’s book illustrator, while pursuing her career as a painter – her “spiritual home”. Her first trips to Europe, the Middle East, India and Nepal initiated her love of global culture, which she continues to explore.
“Beginning with conventional notions of the cityscape and the still life tradition, I often bring the abstract geometry of the scene into composition,” Ms. Monks Hack told News-Press.
“Arriving at my way of painting was an intuitive process – one intuitive step at a time. Conceptual art, the notion of the integrity of the picture plane, and Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park paintings seem to have stayed with me” , she said, “Vermeer was the first painter I never got tired of at a very young age.”
A graduate of UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, Ms. Monks Hack and a friend started a successful clothing business, after which she studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
“I was working in the fashion industry when the opportunity to spend a year in Morocco presented itself. At that point fate diverged and fashion was the way not to go,” she said. “Over the years, I kept my love of sewing, patterns and assembling clothes. That, combined with the emphasis on “conceptual art” from my years at UC Irvine, eventually evolved into the work of this show.
Ms. Monks Hack, who holds an MFA in Humanities/Visual Arts from Cal State Dominguez Hills, has taught art at all levels in Santa Barbara County Public Schools for more than two decades and at Allan Hancock College and at Brandman University before retiring.
A member of the Lompoc Valley Arts Council, the Lompoc Valley Art Association and the Santa Barbara Art Association, she maintains an art studio on the Central Coast and continues to produce and exhibit her oil paintings.
“The underlying structure of our visual experience interests me as much as how that reality appears on the surface. I view space as an active entity and use it to interrupt the integrity of form, setting places and objects in motion in the mind. I hope to suggest the dimension and feeling of time. I hope my viewers will read the paintings as they would poetry,” Ms. Monks Hack said.
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