Shelley Monahan is an oil painter who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She moved to the Bay Area in 2001 and received her BFA from the Academy of Art University. She has exhibited work at Bay Area galleries including Femina Potens, SOMArts, Alleycat Gallery, & Million Fishes. Monahan’s most recent body of work is an outgrowth of a cultural exchange residency she attended in Jashipur, India.
I make paintings using visual disruptions of realistic images in order to spark an emotional response. My source material represents a range from found photographs dug up at flea markets to intimate portraits of friends. Once I select a subject, I experiment with distorting and obscuring the realistic parts of the image. My newest work, Second Skin, attempts to amplify what may be hidden or revealed by the personas that people choose to inhabit. Each figure exists in a visually complex environment that threatens to overwhelm them. The ambiguous organic and geometric shapes visually conjure similarities to a wide range of textures, from clouds and smoke to crystalline structures and digital abstraction. The intrusions in my paintings evoke different responses in individual viewers; comings and goings, presence and absence, privacy and exposure, reality and memory.