Monika Edgar

Artist Statement

My paintings seem to emerge from my childhood and the experiences I had growing up in Lithuania, a small country on the southeastern edge of the Baltic Sea. I remember our black and white TV, gray skies, peeling stucco buildings and long spells of rain in the summer. I remember brown wool school uniforms we had to iron every other day, mandatory parades and Soviet movies about World War II. Those of us that longed for color and sunshine sketched, listened to The Beatles and sewed or crocheted clothes.

I grew up surrounded by images by Lithuanian symbolist painter Ciurlionis, Gustav Klimt, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and iconographic images of the Lithuanian primitive wooden sculpture and sacral art. My techniques are constantly changing, but they often include collage, gold leaf, calligraphy and oil on canvas. It’s a thrill to see paintings emerge out of the white space, effortlessly, as if I was only an observer. To facilitate this process, I often start with the essence of the painting without thinking of the final result, only relying on the predominant sensation or intuition and letting the alchemy of mixing paint take over. Most paintings take a long time to complete, as I use multiple layers and numerous reductionist steps to arrive at my destination.

I believe that when we make honest marks, whether it’s on paper or canvas, in stone or clay, we map the present moment. Art can be a tool for self-inquiry. Painting helps me bridge the distance between where I was before and where I am now, geographically, physically, spiritually. Making peace with what is can be an indispensable first step in moving forward. Whenever that is transmitted to the rest of the world, there is healing.


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