Monica Tap   Further: Paintings by Monica Tap

January 17, 2004 - March 7, 2004

In her recent work, Monica Tap looks at the power of the artist's mark, in turn revealing how surface and representation are constructed in contemporary painting.  The artist examines lines from the drawings of other artists - often seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish landscape artists - enlarging their marks, transferring them into vivid colour, layering drawing upon drawing until she creates a beautiful abstract composting of history.  Like hyper-active electronic screens, Tap's paintings pulse with activity and back-lit colour.  The network of lines that once composed a drawing is now Tap's calligraphy - writing a new language that morphs in and out of legibility.

This exhibition examines the language of painting in microscopic detail.  Some of Tap's recent works are blow-ups of her own brushmarks taken from sketches, part of her preparation for a canvas.  Enlarged and engorged, the artist's thick marks become visceral, gushing forces - baroque and embellished in every detail.  Tap's experimentation takes one into a new realm of push and pull, recognition and provocation. Beauty is found in every mark, coursing through each line that has been deconstructed from the representational mirage.

In a recent artist statement, Tap said,

As little as a century ago, students learned to draw by steadily copying the works of the masters.  I have taken up this practice, but with a twist.  I re-enact the ritual of copying old drawings, but intentionally get it all wrong.  My choice of paint rather than ink, of colour, of large scale, and my practice of layering drawings onto the same canvas to the point of indecipherability - all these choices are made to foreground the abstract grammar that is the basis for illusionist pictorial space.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Monica Tap completed her BFA and MFA studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.  She has exhibited her paintings extensively across Canada and internationally since 1990. Tap has been an artist in residence at St. Norbert’s Arts and Cultural Centre, Manitoba; The Banff Centre, Alberta; and Prairie North Artist’s Residency in Grande Prairie, Alberta.  She has been an invited artist at several institutions including the Emily Carr School of Art and Design, the Ontario College of Art and Design and Pennsylvania State University.

Organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Curator Joan Stebbins).  Funding assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and The Canada Council for the Arts.

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