Blue Moon Gallery and Frame in Brevard presents the work of Janine Monroe, an Atlanta-based artist whose pieces feature her innovative use of recycled wood combined with acrylic polymers and pigments to create paintings with an added dimension. These sculpted paintings, along with her two-dimensional pieces, explore questions about resources, women and the value of both.
“There’s really nothing like Janine’s work in this area,” says photographer and Blue Moon Gallery owner Rob Travis. “Viewers can actually see her art coming off the canvas as a three-dimensional piece.”
Monroe’s series began as an exploration of ways to neutralize the idea of color as representative of race by utilizing the natural hue of sawdust to produce images. This led her to develop a process of mixing recycled sawdust with acrylic medium and pigments to form a putty that she uses to create dimension on her canvases. “The process took many years, knowledge of art history and a little bit of chemistry,” says Monroe, “but the end result has afforded me the opportunity to combine sculpting, which I love, with painting, which I also love, on one canvas.”
Visitors to Blue Moon Gallery will see pieces from Monroe’s 2020 series Ancestral Ties. The series reflects a surreal existence where neither sky nor earth is clear and images live in a space between memories and dreams. For her subject matter, Monroe chose strong female role models from her Jamaican heritage, including the 18th-century warrior and liberator Queen Nanny of the Maroons.
“In the 18th century, Nanny was a military expert and symbol of unity and strength to her people,” says Monroe. “This strength has translated to my grandmothers and their mothers, whom some of my pieces are named for.”
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who are classical musicians, and living most of her life in the US gives Monroe a unique perspective from which to explore socio-political and environmental issues through her art. This perspective, along with an appreciation of Italian Baroque art, Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism and, in particular the work of Caravaggio, Cézanne, Picasso and Kahlo, leads to paintings that are innovative, yet grounded in conservation and tradition.
“I create each piece with one purpose in mind, but each time the person who ultimately lives with the piece expresses a completely different reason that it appeals to them,” says Monroe. “So I believe that I am a vessel for messages that are relayed through my works, and my job is to produce them and send them out into the world.”
Blue Moon Gallery and Frame is located at 24 East Main Street in Brevard. For more information, visit BlueMoonGalleryandFrame.com.