Alyssa Monks is a New Jersey-based artist who’s most famous for her gorgeous hyper realistic paintings.
Although they seem like photographs, these are actually very detailed portraits of bathing people. “Using filters such as glass, vinyl, water, and steam, I distort the body in shallow painted spaces,“ Monks says of her techniques.
“Using filters such as glass, vinyl, water, and steam, I distort the body in shallow painted spaces. These filters allow for large areas of abstract design – islands of color with activated surfaces – while bits of the human form peak through. In a contemporary take on the traditional bathing women, my subjects are pushing against the glass “window”, distorting their own body, aware of and commanding the proverbial male gaze. Thick paint strokes in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh from a distance. However, up close, the delicious physical properties of oil paint are apparent. Thus sustaining the moment when abstract paint strokes become something else.”
Born 1977 in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Alyssa Monks began oil painting as a child. She studied at The New School in New York and Montclair State University and earned her B.A. from Boston College in 1999. During this time she studied painting at Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence. She went on to earn her M.F.A from the New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art in 2001. She completed an artist in residency at Fullerton College in 2006 and has lectured at universities and institution nation wide. She has taught Flesh Painting at the New York Academy of Art, as well as Montclair State University and the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.
“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself. I am exploring the possibility and potential where representational painting and abstraction meet – if both can coexist in the same moment”.
Alyssa Monks has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for Painting three times and is a member of the New York Academy of Art’s Board of Trustees. She is currently represented by David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. Alyssa currently lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.