Born in Vancouver in 1965 but now based in Los Angeles, painter Monique van Genderen engages with materiality, surface, and the language of Modernist abstraction in a diverse range of paintings and wall installations. She brings together the legacy of Abstract Expressionism—both colour field painting and hard-edged and post-painterly abstraction—with elements of commercial design and modern painting sensibilities to explore painting as a discipline.Read More
Her artwork draws comparisons to earlier painters like Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, and Lorser Feitelson, and features flat planes and patches of colour (sometimes painted over other hues to create radiant, glimmering, translucent layers) with smaller delicate lines crossing and countering these robust blockier elements. Gestural brush-marks, ranging from calligraphy to singular Minimalist strokes are utilised in what art critic Jonathan Griffin refers to as 'a process of gestural appropriation.'
Influences from van Genderen's early commercial sign-making career show in her computer-generated patterns and use of graphic design. Traces of this early career are also apparent in the crisp sharpness of her form and colour co-ordination. In her early artworks, using ripped and cut Adhesive Vinyl she subverted the material norms of painting. The artist continues to experiment, using, for example, egg tempera, wax on paper, or glazes on clay. She encompassed and surpassed human height with a set of large-scale wall paintings utilising vinyl installed in the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 2006. Their great height required a cherry-picker. While not ominous or oppressive, such a scale physically overwhelms the viewer.
Graduating with a BFA from the University of California, San Diego (1987), followed by an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (1991), van Genderen is now the associate chair of liberal arts and sciences and director of graduate studies in criticism and theory at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Over the past two decades her works have featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions across the United States and are held in American and European collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Albertina Museum, Vienna; and the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern. She was also selected for the 48th Corcoran Biennial at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (2005) and has been awarded artist residencies by the Chinati Foundation (2004) and Headlands Center for the Arts (2019).
Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2019