At the root of Matthew Monahan’s sculptures and drawings are physical attributes common to all humans: the face and the body itself.
He draws on our investment in the function and form of things that we habitually have made to resemble ourselves–whether dolls and puppets, effigies and totems, statues and figurines, busts, masks, and other prostheses or those objects into which bodies may have transformed, such as relics, trophies, and mummies. Composed and “decomposed” from a wide variety of materials, particularly carved floral foam and beeswax, the body as it emerges from Monahan’s direct sculptural process is rarely a complete entity. Torsos, heads, and limbs are repeatedly broken or punctured as if the sculptures were made up of ransacked icons, and his charcoal drawings of faces are typically torn or crumpled into three dimensional forms. Plinths, pedestals, and the transparent structures that often integrate or encase these grotesque bodies are characteristically incomplete and further lend Monahan’s work the dual sense that museological piety and violent iconoclasm have both been set loose.
For more images of Matthew’s work go to
Anton Kern Gallery