One of New York’s best-known contemporary painters, Alyssa Monks—famous for her striking photo-realistic images—continues to wow with her 2014 series. The thirty-seven-year-old’s unique figurative style, combined with the way she manages to capture intense human expression, creates an immediate emotional connection with the viewer. Her portraits are especially engaging: eyes filled with emotion, her subjects stare directly and deeply into the audience, plunging the viewer into a very honest moment, almost of conversation, with the portrait.
Compared with Monks’ 2013 bather series—in which she painted her subjects taking a bath or shower behind water, steam or glass as a filter—most of her 2014 works are presented without any pictorial barrier between subject and audience. The result exposes every facial expression and surface as pure emotional narrative. On Monks’ website, she explains that she arrived at this point through an obsession with realism, until it evolved—or dissolved—into something more:
She has also created one-word titles for her works, such as ‘Love’, ‘Loss’ and ‘Misunderstood’ to focus us on a single emotion for her subjects; yet through her signature hyper-realistic representation, Monks makes us realize how complex each emotions can be. It’s almost a confrontation.
If you happen to be in the New York area and would like to experience Alyssa Monks’ larger-than-life works, consider yourself lucky: Monks has two upcoming shows in NYC; Art Southampton 2014 with NYAA on July 24th through 28th, and the New York Academy Summer Exhibition at Flowers Gallery, which opened on June 19th.
Alyssa Monks was born in 1977 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She is traditionally trained with a B.A and MFA, and also studied painting at Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, Italy. Along with her numerous shows in the United States, she has earned several international exhibits and awards. She is also an educator: Monks 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.
To explore more of Monks’ breath taking art please visit www.alyssamonks.com.
All images © Alyssa Monks